Recognising The Early Signs Of Sjögren’s Disease
Sjögren’s disease, which is also commonly known as Sjögren’s syndrome, is an autoimmune disorder that causes cells in the body to destroy the tear and saliva glands. While it can occur on its own, it is often associated with rheumatoid arthritis. As the symptoms of Sjögren’s often mimic other conditions, such as fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome, it is not uncommon for people to wait three years or more for the diagnosis. It is often considered only after other conditions have been ruled out.
Unfortunately, many people ignore or fail to recognise the early signs of Sjögren’s disease. If left untreated, it results in an increased risk of damage to other organs in the body, including the brain, liver, kidneys, lungs, and even the cardiovascular system. The challenge with this syndrome is both the similarity of the symptoms with other health issues as well as the often mild occurrence of the key symptoms of dry eyes and dry mouth.
The Importance of Testing
Most patients will have a long and difficult journey in seeing a range of specialists, from ophthalmologists and oral medicine specialists to rheumatologists and otolaryngologists. Each of these specialists will attempt to rule out specific issues, which can take weeks of trying medications and attempts to diagnose the underlying conditions.
One of the most effective ways to test for Sjögren’s syndrome, once it is suspected, is through a blood assay. In addition, doctors may also complete a biopsy of the saliva glands and take urine tests in addition to other medical evidence already collected. In blood tests, the presence of an ANA or antinuclear antibody is a determining factor for an autoimmune disorder. Trinity Biotech is on the cutting edge of creating highly accurate equipment to test for these antibodies.
Sjögren’s syndrome cannot be cured at this time, but it can be effectively managed in most patients. Early and accurate testing for the syndrome is essential to address all related health issues.