Chances are you’ve never heard of Sjögren’s syndrom, a disease that impacts the moisture-producing glands of the human body. The result — dryness affecting the mouth and eyes — may sound more irritating than dramatic, but it can actually be quite life-changing in a very negative way. In some cases, Sjögren’s syndrome can lead to dryness in many other parts of the body, from the nose to the throat and the top layers of skin.
Sjögren’s syndrome is primarily a female disease that’s most likely to appear in women past age 40. That said, it’s possible for anyone — no matter their race, age, or gender — to experience Sjögren’s. For these reasons, it’s important to learn more about this problematic disease, particularly if it affects you or someone you know.
Sadly, doctors don’t really know what causes Sjögren’s syndrome. Currently, theories about its origins in the body indicate that it may have something to do with one’s genetic makeup or exposure to a yet unknown type of virus or bacteria.
What we do know is that Sjögren’s syndrome is an autoimmune disease, meaning it hurts the immune system’s ability to fight off viruses and bacteria. In essence, it works against the body by mistaking the immune system for some kind of foreign invader. The result is damage to those glands responsible for producing moisture in various parts of the body, from the mouth to the eyes and throat.