Dry throat often makes us irritated. No matter the seasons, dry throat may shake us any time. As we know, there are many remedies for this condition. From honey with pepper to smoothening lozenges, a ton authorized and unauthorized medications are available in the market. Which one would you like to prefer? I would like to recommend you to consult a doctor if the condition persists for more than three days. In this article, we are going to discuss something serious.
Sjogerns syndrome is not a new name for doctors. The official definition of this condition is: Sjogerns syndrome is an autoimmune disease characterized by dryness of throat, mouth and eyes. Initially it starts with a single symptom. It may be dry throat or xerophthalmia (dryness of eyes).
How it happens?
Our body is protected by antibodies. Antibodies in our body destruct harmful antigens (invaders). Antibodies recognize antigens using codes. When our antibodies get confused, it may mistake our body cells as antigens. Therefore, they start to destruct our own body cells. This disorder is called autoimmune disease. In Sjogern’s syndrome our antibodies mistakes our own salivary glands as our enemies (antigens) and start to destructs our glandular cells. It affects the production of saliva causing dryness in mouth and throat.
What are the signs and symptoms?
Dryness of the throat, mouth, lips and eyes along with inflammation and redness of eyes and mucous membranes.
- Drink water frequently to maintain wetness in the mouth and throat. Using lip balms are recommended.
- Wash eyes frequently with sterile water. Alteration in tear production makes eyes susceptible to infections. Using eye lubricants are recommended.
- Avoid spicy foods.
- Gargle using an iodine povidine mouthwash to prevent tonsillitis.
- Steam inhalation with sterile water will help to maintain wetness in nostrils and throat.
- Consult a doctor as early as possible to avoid complications.
The current surveys show that 90% of Sjogern’s syndrome patients are female. This condition is reported from both developed and developing countries.
Like all other autoimmune disease, the actual causative factors of Sjogern’s syndrome are still unknown. Hereditary factors are under research as a number of cases are reported from patients with familial history of Sjogern’s syndrome. This condition is often associated with Rheumatoid arthritis.
Who are under risk?
People who are above forty years of age.
People who have a family history of Sjogern’s syndrome
People with recurring autoimmune disease
As it affects salivary glands and lacrimal glands (tear producing glands), it badly affects the protection provided by saliva and tears. Usually complications like blurred vision, dental cavities, fungal infestations and mucosal inflammations are seen commonly. Sever infections malnutrition, weight loss and weight loss follows if uncontrolled. Rarely patient may develop cancer in the lymph nodes.
There are different diagnostic methods to confirm the disease condition. Some of the important and reliable diagnostic methods are given below.
Schirmers test and Slit lamp test.
Schirmers test: It is a test conducted to measure the amount of tear produced in the eye for five minutes time. An absorbent or filter paper is placed in the lower eyelid to calculate the total moisture in the paper.
It is the test in which a magnifying device called slit lamp is used to detect the surface of the eye for any corneal damage.
In this procedure, a dye is injected to the parotid gland and x ray is taken to visualize the amount of saliva that flows into the mouth.
Medical management or Treatment
As said early in the first aid care, eyes and mouth should be washed frequently. There are drugs, which can increase the production of saliva and tears. They are,
Pilocarpine and Cevimelin
These two drugs are used to increase the production of saliva and tears. Often have adverse effect like abdominal pain and polyuria.
NSAIDS are used if the condition is associated with arthritis.
Hydroxychloroquineis a drug used in severe infections like malaria. Recent studies states that this drug can be used effectively in Sjogern’s syndrome.
For any fungal or yeast infection broad-spectrum anti microbial tropical cream can be used.
The treatment differs according to the signs and symptoms. The above information given is for referral purpose. Take medication under doctor’s order. Self-treatment is always harmful.