Between 1 and 4 million Americans have Sjögren's syndrome. People of all races and ethnic backgrounds get the disease. It is almost 10 times more common in women. It rarely occurs in children and typically begins when people are between the ages of 45 and 55 years old.
While the cause of Sjögren's syndrome is not known, we do know that Sjögren's is an autoimmune disease. Although the disease primarily affects the tear and salivary glands, it also has the potential, as an autoimmune disease, to harm many other bodily organs by attacking them as well. The abnormal immune response can lead to damage of blood vessels, joints, lungs and the nervous system.