Sjögren’s Syndrome


What is Sjögren’s Syndrome (SS)?

Sjögren’s Syndrome is a condition that mainly causes dry eyes and dry mouth. It is an autoimmune disease that affects the glands in the body called exocrine glands. These are glands that produce substances such as saliva, tears, sweat and digestive juices.

There are 2 classifications of Sjögren’s syndrome; Primary Sjögren’s syndrome occurs on its own whilst secondary Sjögren’s syndrome occurs along with another rheumatic disease such as rheumatoid arthritis or systemic lupus erythematosus.


Causes of Sjögren’s Syndrome

Sjögren’s syndrome most commonly affects people between aged between 40-60 years. It is estimated that half a million people in the UK have Sjögren’s syndrome with females around 9 times more likely than men.

The body’s immune system protects against infection and injury. In autoimmune conditions, the immune system become over active and produces antibodies that target normal healthy tissue, resulting in damage. In Sjögren’s syndrome, inflammation is targeted at the glands.

The exact cause of Sjögren’s syndrome is unknown, but there is evidence of genetic and environmental factors. Although there is no common inheritance of Sjögren’s syndrome in families, other autoimmune conditions associated with secondary Sjögren’s syndrome can be seen more commonly.


Symptoms of Sjögren’s Syndrome

Most common symptoms:

There may also be dryness of the skin, vagina or breathing tubes.


Rarely Sjögren’s syndrome can be associated with developing other conditions such as:


How do we diagnose Sjögren’s Syndrome?

A history of relevant symptoms will be the most important way that the doctor suspects the diagnosis. This will be confirmed by relevant tests that includes:



No treatment is available as a cure for Sjögren’s syndrome. Treatments are available to improve the troublesome symptoms. Some medication have side effects that can worsen symptoms

Useful Links

Versus Arthritis:

British Sjögren’s Syndrome Association: