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What Is Sjogrens Syndrome?

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Submitted by Carolyn Lee

Ask 100 people to tell you what they know about Sjogrens Syndrome and 99  will probably say, Sjogrens Syndrome, What is That?  Sjogrens Syndrome (pronounced Show-grins) is a chronic auto-immune disease in which the white blood cells attack and damage the moisture producing glands in a person’s body.  The effects of this disease are so varied that for many years, sufferers were thought to be imagining the symptoms.  Even today, many doctors have never heard of it.  It manifests itself in varied ways.  Most people have extreme thirst, their bodies no longer make saliva, which, in time causes most sufferers to lose all their teeth (were you aware that saliva is an important factor in maintaining good teeth?) while others may have extreme dry eyes; some develop lupus, cancer; heart problems, etc.   Sjogrens can affect every organ in the body so it is vital that sufferers have the right doctor and support from family, friends and an active support group.
                                                         
Several doctors have told me there are many people in our area (Central, Baton Rouge, Baker and Zachary) that have Sjogrens; however none can give me the names of their patients due to privacy issues.  We desperately need to form a Sjogrens Support Group in order to share positive information that has been beneficial in coping with this ailment.  It is not known what causes S.S. but it IS known that there is NO CURE for it.  I was identified with Sjogrens four years ago when I mentioned to my pain doctor’s P. A. that I stayed thirsty all the time.  I would wake up every hour during the night to drink water.  She recommended I see a Rheumatologist.  That shocked me as I had never heard of Sjogrens but soon learned that most people have it for several years prior to being diagnosed.  Sjogrens is part of the Arthritis family.  

If you are interested in being a part of or helping to start a local Sjogrens support group, please email Carolyn at kencarlee1@bellsouth.net.

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