There are more than half a million sufferers of Sjögren’s Syndrome in the UK, but it’s a condition that you probably won’t have heard of. Named after the Swedish eye doctor, Henrich Sjögren, who described a ‘syndrome’ consisting of features that included: dry eyes, dry mouth, vaginal dryness and aches and pains; it is a non-life threatening condition that typically develops in women in their 30’s to 60’s, although it can develop at any age and affects both men and women. It occurs when the body’s immune system reacts against itself and destroys the mucous secreting glands (such as those producing saliva and tears) as if they were foreign bodies. Treatment is about managing symptoms and preventing or limiting organ damage. Artificial tears are used to ensure that the dry eyes remain healthy, while saliva substitutes, coming in the form of gels and mouth sprays, are used to alleviate the discomfort of a dry mouth and throat.
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