Sjögren’s (pronounced “show-grens”) syndrome is an autoimmune disease which affects the moisture producing glands of the body, including tear ducts, saliva, nasal mucous, membranes within the body and surrounding the internal organs. People living with Sjögren’s syndrome often refer to it as just Sjögren’s.
The term ‘autoimmune disorder’ refers to a collection of illness and disorders where the body’s immune system does not function properly. Normally, the immune system protects the body from foreign matter such as bacteria and viruses. In Sjögren’s syndrome (and other autoimmune disorders such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma, psoriasis, diabetes and multiple sclerosis) the immune cells called lymphocytes infiltrate and destroy the mucus producing glands (exocrine glands) of the body. The cause/s of autoimmune diseases is presently not known, but it is thought that several factors are involved and include viral infections, hormones, genetics and stress.