Sjögren's syndrome - Definition

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Sjögren's syndrome is an autoimmune disease, meaning it is caused by the body's antibodies attacking the body's own cells. It induces a reduction or total shutdown of the secretion of certain glands, notably the saliva, lachrymal, vaginal, and digestive glands. This leads to skin, eye, and mouth dryness, as well as drying out all affected organs. The syndrome primarily affects women over 40 years old, and can be an isolated condition or associated with other autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid polyarthritis or systemic lupus erythematosus. The symptoms are ocular stinging, inability to produce tears, recurrent conjunctivitis, pharyngitis, and skin dryness. No cure exists and treatment is directed at the symptoms.