5 March 2014 (Wednesday) - Sjögren's syndrome

Sjögren's syndrome was something I'd never heard of before today. It was the diagnosis in a case for which I was asked to perform a CD4 cell count. On reflection and investigation I cannot see the relevence of such a cell count to the case

Sjögren's syndrome is a chronic autoimmune disease in which the body's white cells destroy the exocrine glands, specifically the salivary and lacrimal glands

The immune-mediated attack on the salivary and lacrimal glands leads to the development of dry mouth (xerostomia) and dry eyes (keratoconjunctivitis sicca), together with lymphocytic infiltration of the associated glands.
That inflammatory process eventually severely damages or destroys these glands.

There are two types of Sjögren's syndrome, primary or secondary form.
Primary Sjögren’s syndrome presents alone, in the absence of other autoimmune or connective tissue disorders and only impacts the salivary and lacrimal glands.
Secondary Sjogren’s syndrome presents along with other autoimmune or connective tissue disorders, such as rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus or other autoimmune conditions.

Most of the population, as well as many medical providers, know little or nothing about Sjogren's syndrome. Despitre being the second most common form of arthritis, the average time to diagnosis of the syndrome is now 4.7 years


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