Sjogren's Should Be Treated Early
If your eyes or mouth become extremely dry and you have aches and pains in
muscles and joints, schedule a visit to your doctor. Dr. Janine Smith of the
National Eye Institute, says these symptoms may signal the onset of Sjogren's
Syndrome, an incurable - but treatable - immune disorder.
Dr. Smith: "It affects two to four million Americans, and nine
out of 10 patients affected are women. The average age of onset is usually
in the peri-menopausal period around the 50's, although there are several women
who are in the 25- to 35-year-old period that can be affected, often after childbirth."
Smith says early treatment is important because it can prevent further complications:
Dr. Smith: "These patients have an increased risk for infection
in the front part of the eye, and that can lead to scarring and a decrease in
Moisture replacement can ease the symptoms of dryness, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory
drugs may be used to treat joint and muscle symptoms. Severe complications
may be treated with corticosteroids or immune-suppressing drugs.
Dr. Smith: "I think it is important for patients to know that
there is a lot of ongoing research, and hopefully new medications will be available
to them to help with the symptoms of this difficult disease."
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Created: 10/15/2001  - Donnica Moore, M.D.