Sjögren’s (pronounced as shoh-grinz) syndrome is an autoimmune disorder that’s usually identified by its two most common symptoms- dry eyes and mouth- which are the result of immune cells attacking and destroying the glands that produce saliva and tears. The disorder is named after Henrik Sjögren, the ophthalmologist who first described it.
Who’s At Risk?
Almost 90 percent of all patients diagnosed with Sjögren’s are women, and most of them develop symptoms after menopause. It’s the second most common rheumatic disease in the United States, and an estimated four million people in this country suffer from it.
Symptoms of Sjögren’s Syndrome
While the main symptoms are dry eyes and mouth, Sjögren’s is a systemic disease that can affect almost every part of the body, including one or more of the following:
- Pain, stiffness and swelling of the joints
- Dry skin
- Severe fatigue
- Skin rash
- Dry cough
- Swollen salivary glands
- Vaginal dryness
- Raynaud’s phenomenon- a disorder which causes discoloration of fingers and toes
Sadly, there is no known cure for Sjögren’s syndrome. Treatment for this disease focuses on treating the symptoms that accompany it.
Treatment of Sjögren’s Syndrome
Because dryness is such a hallmark of the disease, it’s important for patients to take steps to keep passageways and skin as moist as possible. If you suffer from Sjögren’s syndrome, you may find that showering instead of bathing keeps your skin from drying out. Investing in moisturizing body washes or soap substitutes can also bring relief to some patients. Sensitivity to sunshine is a common concern that can be addressed by using sunscreen regularly.
Of course, dryness isn’t the only effect of Sjögren’s. While most of the treatments for this disorder focus on the ailments of the eyes and mouth, more than half of all patients with Sjögren’s syndrome report that joint pain and fatigue are ongoing concerns.
Chiropractic Care Can Help
Because this syndrome can affect many different areas of the body, it can be extremely beneficial for patients to seek relief from a variety of sources. Patients with Sjögren’s frequently develop an inflammatory arthritis where their joints become swollen and hot. While it doesn’t typically cause long-term damage to the joints, this can be extremely uncomfortable for some patients. Chiropractic care is an excellent way to alleviate the swelling of the joints.
Chiropractic care is a safe, natural, drug-free approach that focuses on holistic wellness. This “hands-on” type of therapy is very complementary to other types of medical treatment. Chiropractic treatments are an excellent way of relieving pain in the joints, bones, muscles and connective tissues that many patients with Sjögren’s syndrome commonly face.
If you suspect that you or someone you love may be dealing with Sjögren’s syndrome, contact your primary care physician as well as your chiropractor to find out what treatments are available to you. While there is no cure for this disease, there is treatment available that can make it easier to bear.
Story credit: http://www.medicinenet.com/sjogrens_syndrome/article.htm
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