Spotlight on Sjogren's Syndrome in April

Sjogren’s syndrome, a chronic autoimmune disorder with symptoms that can include dry mouth, takes center stage in April, which is National Sjogren’s Awareness Month.

More than 4 million Americans suffer from Sjogren’s syndrome, according to the Sjogren’s Syndrome Foundation.

Women tend account for nine out of 10 patients with Sjogren’s syndrome, which occurs when a person’s white blood cells attack his or her moisture-producing glands. The most common symptoms of Sjogren’s syndrome include dry mouth and eyes, fatigue and musculoskeletal pain.

According to SSF, the disease is often underdiagnosed or misdiagnosed an average of 4.7 years before a correct diagnosis. The foundation encourages dentists, eye doctors, gynecologists and other health care professionals to be alert to Sjogren’s syndrome.

For more information about Sjogren’s syndrome, visit the SSF at www.sjogrens.org. The National Institutes of Health (nih.gov) and the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (nidcr.nih.gov) also have resources on Sjogren’s syndrome.

The American Dental Association has resources on understanding and treating xerostomia, or dry mouth, which is a common symptom of Sjogren’s syndrome, at its consumer website MouthHealthy.org.

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