Sjögren's syndrome (pronounced sho-grins) is a chronic autoimmune disease in which the body's immune system inappropriately attacks one's own tissues, particularly the glands that produce moisture for the eyes, the mouth and elsewhere in the body.
This causes the most common symptoms of Sjögren's syndrome, which are dry eyes and dry mouth.
Sjögren's syndrome can also affect other body organ systems. These organs include the skin, joints, muscles, blood, lung, heart, kidneys and nerves. Symptoms or signs related to involvement of the nerves (burning pain in the extremities); lungs (cough, shortness of breath); blood (anemia, low white blood cell or platelet count); and kidneys (frequent urination, low potassium) affect less than 20 percent of people with Sjögren's syndrome. These types of involvement are referred to as systemic manifestations. People with Sjögren's syndrome also have an increased risk of developing lymphoma, a cancer of the lymphatic system.
Sjögren's syndrome may occur by itself or in association with another autoimmune condition, such as systemic lupus erythematosus (also called SLE or just lupus), rheumatoid arthritis or scleroderma (a condition that affects the skin and connective tissue).
Although there is no cure for Sjögren's syndrome, a number of treatments are available.