Sjogren’s syndrome is an autoimmune disease that is characterized by the inflammation of certain glands in the body. Lachrymal glands (the glands that produce tears) and salivary glands, including the parotid glands which produce saliva.
90% of those with Sjogren’s are female!
The symptoms include:
- Changes in sense of taste
- Chapped lips
- Difficulty chewing
- Difficulty swallowing
- Dry cough
- Dry eyes
- Dry mouth
- Dental cavities
- Enlarged parotid glands (usually the glands located behind the jaw and in front of the ear)
- Gum disease
- Irritation in the nose (sometimes accompanied by mild bleeding)
- Joint pain
- Lung infections
- Mouth sores
- Oral yeast infections
- Rashes and dry skin
- Vaginal dryness
Aside from the glandular issues, there are extra glandular problems associated with Sjogren’s such as arthritis, Reynaud’s phenomenon, lung inflammation as well as kidney, muscle and nerve disease.
Although it is rarely seen, Sjogren’s patients can also experience inflammation of the blood vessels.
So you are sitting there reading all this thinking, “What has this got to do with Celiac Disease?”
First, we should be clear that Celiac and Sjogren’s are both autoimmune diseases.
Secondly, according to recent studies, between 4.5% and 15% of patients with Sjogren’s also have Celiac! When you realize that it is estimated that 1 in 133 people have Celiac, that 4.5% to 15% is a lot of people!
Sjogren’s has been linked to celiac because of the many similarities in their symptoms as well.
In both Celiac and Sjogren’s there is a high incidence of dental decay, gum disease, mouth sores, skin rashes, and dry skin.
In order to be diagnosed for Sjogren’s, once must go through blood, urine and stool sample tests.
If you have Sjogren’s and you are female, I strongly suggest you get tested for Celiac disease.