Sjogren's Syndrome Specialist

Integral Rheumatology & Immunology Specialists

Rheumatologists located in Plantation, FL

Sjögren’s syndrome affects ten times as many women as men, causing its characteristic uncomfortable symptoms of dry eyes and dry mouth. Dr. Guillermo Valenzuela and Dr. Marilu Colon at Integral Rheumatology & Immunology Specialists have extensive experience diagnosing Sjögren’s syndrome and developing a customized treatment plan to alleviate your symptoms. If you experience dry eyes and dry mouth, call the office in Plantation, Florida, or use online booking to schedule an appointment.

Sjogren's Syndrome Q & A

Integral Rheumatology & Immunology Specialists

What is Sjögren’s Syndrome?

Sjögren’s syndrome is an inflammatory, autoimmune disease that develops when your immune system attacks and damages healthy tissues. It can attack many glands in your body, but it most often affects tear and salivary glands.

About half of all patients with Sjögren’s syndrome have another rheumatologic disease such as rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus.

What are the Symptoms of Sjögren’s Syndrome?

Although Sjögren’s syndrome can affect any gland that secretes fluids, such as sweat glands, the glands that produce tears and saliva are usually affected first. As the disease causes inflammation, the glands are damaged, causing less fluid production.

The two primary types of symptoms are:

  • Dry Eyes: Tears are essential for healthy eyes. They moisturize, supply oxygen and nutrients, and prevent infection. When you develop dry eyes due to Sjögren’s syndrome, your symptoms may include -
    • Stinging or burning
    • Redness
    • Watery eyes
    • Blurry vision
    • Feeling that something is in your eyes
    • Sensitivity to light
  • Dry Mouth: Saliva moistens food so it’s easy to swallow, contains digestive enzymes, and prevents tooth decay. Without enough saliva, you’ll have symptoms such as:
    • Difficulty swallowing
    • Bad breath
    • Sore throat
    • Dry tongue and mouth
    • Hoarseness
    • Thick saliva

Patients with Sjögren’s syndrome may also experience:

  • Dry skin
  • Skin rashes
  • Swollen salivary glands
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Joint pain and swelling
  • Fatigue

How is Sjögren’s Syndrome Diagnosed?

Dry eyes and dry mouth are common problems with many causes. When both occur at the same time, however, they’re most likely due to Sjögren’s syndrome. The doctors at Integral Rheumatology & Immunology Specialists can determine whether your symptoms are due to an autoimmune condition by running tests to check for specific blood markers and the presence of certain antibodies.

How is Sjögren’s Syndrome Treated?

Your treatment is customized to alleviate your specific symptoms. A few examples of some treatment options include:

  • Artificial tears
  • Medication to increase tear production
  • Eyedrops to decrease eye inflammation
  • Punctal plugs to block tear drainage
  • Medication to stimulate saliva

If you have dry mouth, it’s important to get regular dental care to prevent cavities. You may also find it helpful to sip water or sugar-free drinks throughout the day or chew sugar-free gum.

If you suffer from dry eyes or dry mouth, call Integral Rheumatology & Immunology Specialists or book an appointment online.

What we offer

Rheumatology & Immunology Services