Sjogren’s syndrome is a disease associated with the immune system. It is an autoimmune condition, which means that your immune system mistakenly attacks other parts of your body. This happens when white blood cells go to the salivary glands, tear glands and other exocrine tissues and affect them, which leads to a decrease in the production of tears and saliva in our body. Due to this disease, there is dryness in the mouth, eyes, skin, nose, vagina or upper respiratory tract. Not only this, other parts of the body like joints, lungs, kidneys etc. are also damaged by this.
The problem of Sjogren’s syndrome is more commonly seen in women and this disease starts only after the age of 40 years. The disease is sometimes associated with other diseases such as arthritis and lupus.
SYMPTOMS OF SJOGREN’S SYNDROME
The two main symptoms of Sjogren’s syndrome are:
Dry eyes – There may be burning, itching in the eyes and it may feel as if mud has gone into the eyes.
Dry mouth – It may feel like you have cotton in your mouth. Along with this, there is a problem in swallowing or even speaking.
Some people with Sjogren’s syndrome may also experience the following symptoms:
- Joint pain, swelling and stiffness
- Swollen salivary glands – especially behind the jaw and in front of the ears
- Skin rashes and dry skin
- Vaginal dryness
- Persistent dry cough
- Chronic fatigue
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CAUSES OF SJOGREN’S SYNDROME
The causes of Sjogren’s syndrome are not known exactly. But, according to studies, viral or bacterial infection can be the cause of this disease. However, its main causes are genetic and environmental. The nervous system, endocrine or hormone-producing systems may also be thought to cause Sjogren’s syndrome.
- An environmental factor can also alter the immune system and cause immune problems later, such as infection with hepatitis C or Epstein-Barr virus.
- Women have more of this problem than men. It is believed that this is due to the hormones of women. However, this cannot be said with certainty.
- Menopause can also be a reason for this. Some studies suggest that estrogen protects against Sjogren’s and that falling levels of the hormone may alter immune function and make the condition worse.
- There is no cure for Sjogren’s syndrome. But, by removing the dryness of the affected organs, the problems caused by this disease can be relieved. There are currently several clinical trial programs focused on developing new therapies for Sjogren’s.
The problem of Sjogren’s syndrome can be risky in the following situations:
- Age – The risk of developing Sjogren’s syndrome is higher after the age of 40.
- Gender – Women are more likely to have this problem than men.
- Rheumatic disease – People who have rheumatic disease like arthritis. They also have a higher risk of getting this disease.
- Family History – It is also believed that if someone in your family has this disease, then you are more likely to get this disease.
HOW TO PREVENT DRY EYE AND OTHER SJOGREN’S SYNDROME SYMPTOMS
- Drink more fluids, especially water.
- Chew sugarless gum or use hard candies to moisten your mouth.
- Use artificial tears and ointment regularly to keep your eyes moist
- Use a saline spray for your nose.
- Install a humidifier to help reduce dryness of the eyes, nose, mouth, and skin.
- Use vaginal lubricants if necessary.
- Don’t smoke and don’t drink alcohol.
WHAT AYURVEDA SAYS ABOUT SJOGREN’S SYNDROME
Sjogren’s syndrome is termed ‘Shushkakshipaka’ in Ayurveda. It can be broken into two words, ‘Shushka’ means ‘absent’, and ‘Paka’ means ‘inflammation’ of Netra. It comes under the Sarvagata Netra Roga which is a Vata/Vata-Pitta dominant vyadhi. It also leads to derangement of metabolism and tissues of the body.
AYURVEDIC THERAPIES FOR SJOGREN’S SYNDROME
- Deepan pachana
Deepana-Pachana should be performed before any treatment to acquire niramavastha of doshas. It helps to eliminate Ama from the abdomen.
- Mirdu Virechan
Virechana is the process of eliminating vitiated doshas (mostly pitta) from the lower gastrointestinal tract via the anal pathway. This procedure provides clarity to mind, strengthens sense organs, stability to tissues, etc.
It is the process of administering medications in suspension form through the rectum using basti yantra. By virtue of the drug’s virya, it draws the doshas or mala from all over the body, from the foot to the head.
In this application, the medication is poured continuously from four inches above the closed eye (on the eyelids) for a specified duration determined by the dosha. It is used to treat acute cases of eye disease.
It is a process in which medicinal drops are delivered into the open eye from a height of two inches. It is the first-line therapy for all eye diseases.
- Akshi tarpana
It is a treatment in which the eye is filled with medicinal oil or ghee for a set amount of time. It nourishes the eyes and treats the Vata-Pitta Vikara.
It is a medicinal method in which medication is infused in the nostrils in the form of drops. This medication is quite successful in treating a variety of Urdhavjatrugata-related disorders.
The anjana shalaka is used to apply medication to the inside surface of the lid margin from kaneenaka sandhi to apanga sandhi.