You’ve probably heard of the chronic autoimmune disease, Rheumatoid Arthritis, or RA. The inflammatory disorder affects joint linings causing painful swelling, and can even cause joint deformities over time. RA can also affect many structures aside from joints including the skin, eyes, heart, kidneys, and nerve tissue. Signs and symptoms may vary and can even come and go. However, some people with RA also develop an aggravating condition called Sjogren’s Syndrome(SS).
Like RA, Sjogren’s Syndrome is an autoimmune disease. Uncontrolled activity of the immune system attacks the body’s own tissues rather than acting as protection. Sjogren’s Syndrome is marked by dry, gritty feeling eyes and dry mouth, which can increase your risk of tooth decay and other dental problems. Sjogren’s Syndrome causes inflammation of the exocrine glands, which are responsible for moisture and lubrication.
When Sjogren’s Syndrome appears as a complication of RA, it’s referred to as secondary Sjogren’s syndrome. Some studies estimate up to 30% of patients with RA meet the diagnostic criteria for secondary Sjogren’s, while up to 50% percent of patients with RA may have dry eye and mouth symptoms but do not meet diagnostic criteria.
Living with the severe joint pain associated with RA can be a struggle. When you throw in the burning, gritty feeling of eyes due to Sjogren’s Syndrome, it can make things much worse. If you or someone you love is looking for new treatment options when it comes to managing symptoms associated with rheumatoid arthritis or Sjogren’s Syndrome, studies are enrolling now. Qualified participants have access to potential new medications, and receive care from board-certified physicians and other medical staff. Those that qualify may also be compensated for time and travel expenses. CLICK HERE to learn more about these exciting research opportunities.