Sjogren’s Syndrome and Sleep Disturbances

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Sjogren’s (SHOW-grins) syndrome is a disorder of your immune system. The condition often accompanies other immune system disorders, such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. In Sjogren’s syndrome, the mucous membranes and moisture-secreting glands of your eyes and mouth are usually affected first resulting in decreased tears and saliva.

Sleep disturbance is a common complaint among Sjogren’s syndrome (SS) patients and an important cause of chronic fatigue. So, it is important to get checked for sleep apnea and take precautions to address these issues. Studies have reported patients with Sjogren’s syndrome have a higher risk of developing obstructive and central sleep apnea.

Although you can develop Sjogren’s syndrome at any age, most people are older than 40 at the time of diagnosis. The condition is much more common in women. Treatment focuses on relieving symptoms.

As mentioned before, main symptoms are dry eyes when your eyes might burn, itch, or feel gritty as if there’s sand in them. A dry mouth might feel as if it is full of cotton, making it difficult to swallow or speak. Other symptoms may be:

Joint pain, swelling and stiffness

Swollen salivary glands — particularly the set located behind your jaw and in front of your ears

Skin rashes or dry skin

Vaginal dryness

Persistent dry cough

Prolonged fatigue

Scientists are not sure why some people develop Sjogren’s syndrome. Certain genes put people at higher risk of the disorder, but it appears that a triggering mechanism such as infection with a particular virus or strain of bacteria is also necessary. In Sjogren’s syndrome, your immune system first targets the glands that make tears and saliva. But it can also damage other parts of your body, such as joints, thyroid, kidneys liver, lungs, skin, and nerves. For more information on Sjogren’s Syndrome and Sleep Apnea see the link below.

Sleep disordered breathing in patients with primary Sjögren’s syndrome: a group controlled study :