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Battling Sjogren Syndrome

Sjogren syndrome is a debilitating autoimmune disorder characterized by dry mouth, dry eyes, dry skin and excessive fatigue. Affecting 10 times more women than men, it makes normal living difficult. Nevertheless, even if incurable, there are ways in which you can battle the symptoms of sjogren syndrome to continue leading a satisfying life.  Do you know world’s top woman tennis player, Venus Williams, who is 17-time grand slam champion, is fighting Sjogren Syndrome to remake her tennis career? And she is doing it successfully with the aid of a new exercise regime and vegan diet.

Generally in the early stages of the disease patients complain of dry and red eyes, mouth becoming dry and food not tasting. Some even get swollen glands in their neck. Many women experience pain during sexual intercourse which occurs due to vaginal dryness. These are the key traits of Sjogren’s syndrome, an autoimmune disorder which is caused by overproduction of B-lymphocytes making excessive antibodies that obstruct individual’s own glands like salivary, sweat and tear glands.  Apart from the above, people may also experience joint pain, swelling and stiffness as well as persistent dry cough. Some patients also complain of numbness, weakness and tingling sensation. Rheumatoid arthritis and lupus are also known to occur along with Sjogren’s syndrome. The overlapping symptom of Sjogren’s syndrome with many other disorders makes the diagnosis of the disease difficult. When the diagnosis is not known but symptoms are interfering with normal routine, it becomes very frustrating. The exact causes are still unknown. However, genetic factors and certain viral infections are considered to put people at risk of developing Sjogren’s syndrome. Though the disease may affect people of any age but the women between the ages of 45 and 55 are more prone.

Being an incurable disease, the treatment of the Sjogren’s syndrome is more to do with reducing the symptoms. Here are some tricks and tips to battle the symptoms of Sjogren’s syndrome:

  1. Eat soft and moist foods. Take smaller frequent meals. Increase fluid intake
  2. Avoid salty, acidic and spicy foods that can cause burning sensation in the mouth
  3. Place wet washcloth on eyes to avoid dryness in eyes
  4. After bath dry pat your body and immediately moisturize
  5. Keep your bedroom dark, quiet and comfortable to maintain a regular sleep routine
  6. Wear sunglasses and apply sunscreen generously before going out in sun
  7. Involve yourself in various activities to keep brain active
  8. Avoid excessive alcohol and caffeine which may interfere with night time sleep
  9. Make friends and enjoy spending time with them to evade depression and anxiety