Welcome to The Australian Sjogren's Syndrome Association. What is Sjogren's Syndrome?

Hello and Welcome to The Australian Sjogren's Syndrome Association. Please feel free to write blogs on your experiences with Sjogren's Syndrome or you may have a question. We are here to help and support those with Sjogren's and maybe make life alittle easier for each one of us.

What is Sjogren's Syndrome?

Sjogren's Syndrome is an autoimmune disorder, whichh means that the body's immune system, which normally fights infections, attacks the body's own tissues. The most common symptoms of Sjogren's Syndrome are dry eyes or a dry mouth, and feeling extremely tired and aching.

Although there is no cure for this syndrome, most people can be treated quite easily. A few do have other, more serious symptoms which can also be treated.

There are two types of Sjogren's Syndrome, Secondary Sjogren's Syndrome is associated with another rheumatic disease such as rheumatioid arthritis. Primary Sjogren's Syndrome is not associated with any underlying rheumatic disease.

Primary Sjogren's Syndrome is probably the second most common autimmune rheumatic disorder after rheumatoid arthritis. This disorder occurs mostely in women between the ages of 40 and 60. It is much less in men (1 in 10), and occurs only rarely in childhood. However, it affects all races.

In Sjogren's Syndrome, the immune system mainly attacks the tear glands in the eyes and the salivary glands in the mouth. The immune system send cells into these gland which cause the glands to swell. The body also produces antibodies which react with the damage tissues in the glands. The nerve signals to the glands are also affected and this reduces the amount of saliva produced.

It is still unclear how Sjogren's Syndrome is caused but it has been linked to several viruses. It is thought that a virus infects the body and then when the virus settles within the body tissues, the immune system reacts and this triggers the start of the inflammation.

I hope this brief outline helps, please feel free to post a blog or ask a question...tell us about your experiences, difficulties and daily life style with this disorder.

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