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Sjogren’s Syndrome – a serious systemic disease often overlooked

Dry Eye and Sjogren’s Syndrome

Sjogren’s (SHOW-grins) Syndrome is a chronic autoimmune disease in which an individual’s white blood cells attack their moisture-producing glands. Although the hallmark symptoms are dry eyes and dry mouth, Sjogren’s also causes serious complications throughout the entire body. This results in dysfunction of the kidneys, gastrointestinal system, blood vessels, lungs, liver, pancreas and the central nervous system. Patients with Sjogren’s may also experience extreme fatigue and joint pain and have a higher risk of developing lymphoma. Nine out of ten patients are women and one in ten dry eye patients are thought to have Sjogren’s Syndrome.

Often delayed diagnosis

Early diagnosis and proper treatment of Sjogren’s Syndrome is important. In the past reaching a diagnosis was often difficult and the time between diagnosis and the onset of symptoms was almost 5 years (4.7). Painful lip biopsies have been the only definitive test available. Today as many as 4 million Americans are living with this disease of which 3 million are undiagnosed. In the past, testing with bloodworm failed to identify the disease in the early stages (when less organ damage was present).

Now available

In June of 2014 a new test called SJO became FDA approved and available. The SJO is an in-office finger-prick blood sample test. The sample is then sent for testing. What makes SJO better is it tests the usual biomarkers along with three novel biomarkers allowing a 90-95% accuracy in diagnosis of Sjogren’s. Dr. Evans was the valley’s first practitioner to be certified by Nicox (the makers of SJO) to utilize the new Sjogren’s Syndrome test.