Sjögren's syndrome is a type of autoimmune disease that causes the mouth as well as the eyes to dry up. In the eyes, it can cause inflammation of the tear glands or the lacrimal glands, resulting in eye irritation. Tear production is also reduced, causing the “gritty” sensation common in Sjögren's syndrome. If the eye irritation isn’t addressed, it can lead to eye infections, abrasions of the cornea, as well as inflammation of the eyelids.
In the mouth, Sjögren's syndrome can cause inflammation of the salivary glands, resulting in decreased salivary production and dry mouth. This will not only make swallowing difficult but it can also lead to mouth problems like cavities as well as mouth sores. It’s also not unusual for people with Sjögren's syndrome to develop dry cough or hoarseness of the voice. Some patients even complain of the loss of sense of taste.
Sjögren's syndrome doesn’t just affect the eyes and mouth though, but it can also affect other parts of the body as well. It can affect the kidneys, liver, lungs, lymph nodes, joints, blood vessels, thyroid gland, esophagus, among others.
Sjögren's Syndrome and Eating Problems
Because of mouth dryness, mouth sores, inflammation, and swallowing difficulties, people with Sjögren's syndrome oftentimes have eating problems. They may also require a special diet.
If you or one of your loved ones is suffering from Sjögren's syndrome, then here are some diet tips that can help:
Taking Care of Yourself
You need to take care of yourself properly and make sure that your symptoms are controlled, especially since Sjögren's syndrome has no known cure. If you develop sores or infection or if you notice any swelling of your lymph nodes, you need to visit your doctor immediately so you can get the proper treatment.
Sjögren's syndrome tends to run in the family, so if you suspect that one of your family members has this autoimmune disease as well, then have him visit his family physician immediately so he can get tested for this disease. The tests will check for the presence of Sjögren's antibodies as well as the presence rheumatoid factor.
Sjögren's syndrome can be very uncomfortable, and you will need regular checkups with your doctor to monitor your condition. Remember, there is no single cure for Sjögren's syndrome and the best way to control this autoimmune problem is to keep the symptoms in check and prevent the development of serious complications.