Tips For Dealing With Fatigue When You Have Sjogrens Syndrome
Sjogrens syndrome is an autoimmune disorder characterized by symptoms such as dryness in the mouth and throat, eyes, skin, vagina, and other organs. Dryness in these organs can lead to irritation, soreness, and pain. Patients with primary Sjogrens syndrome report fatigue as one of the most difficult symptoms they have to cope with.
Here are a few tips to deal with fatigue if you have been diagnosed with Sjogrens syndrome.
Dealing With Pain And Fatigue
Any time the body is struggling with pain and inflammation or constant discomfort, it can be very tiring. Not only is it just tiring in general, but experiencing pain and discomfort often affects sleep quality or a person’s ability to sleep at all. If you have another condition including Sjogren’s syndrome that condition may also be causing the fatigue. The following tips can be very helpful.
Diabetes Symptoms To Spot In Mouth
Signs and symptoms of type-2 diabetes can be mild that you dont even notice. Diabetes has a negative impact on your entire body, but it can also raise your risk of dental disease and other oral problems. Diabetes is linked to one out of every five cases of total tooth loss. The good news is that you can start taking control of your health right now. Controlling your blood sugar, brushing, flossing, and seeing your dentist on a regular basis can all help to reduce your risk of having diabetes-related mouth problems. Here are some of the common symptoms of type-2 diabetes that show up in your mouth.
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What Is The Connection Between Dry Mouth And Fatigue
Dry mouth and fatigue may be connected when accompanied by other symptoms pertaining to certain illnesses, or when they come as side effects of a specific medication. Sjögren’s Syndrome is one example of a disease that is known to cause both dry mouth and fatigue, along with the drying of the eyes and airways. Many medications used to treat other conditions also result in both symptoms, although they do not show up in all patients.
SS is an autoimmune disorder that primarily affects women and is characterized by extreme dry mouth, dry eyes, dry airways, and drying of other mucosal passages. Debilitating fatigue is also a frequent complaint. It is relatively common and affects more people than any other rheumatoid-related illness. Medications may be prescribed to help alleviate symptoms.
Some prescription drugs may also cause these symptoms and can include a wide variety of medications. Symptoms are generally mild and may decrease as the body becomes adjusted to the new prescription. Dosages of the drug may also be altered if either of these symptoms, or any others, become too severe.
Living With Sjgrens Syndrome
Currently, there is not a cure for Sjögrens syndrome. However, in most cases, treatment can help relieve your symptoms and prevent complications. The majority of people with Sjögrens syndrome are healthy and dont have serious complications from the disease.
People with the disease do have more risk of having some problems because of the long-term decrease in tears and saliva. These include infections in or around the eyes and dental problems such as cavities. Make sure you are taking good care of your teeth and see your dentist regularly. If you notice any pain or redness in your eyes, get it looked at right away. These could be signs of an infection.
Rare complications of Sjögrens syndrome include lung problems, liver or kidney problems, skin rashes, weakness and numbness, or lymphoma.
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Types Of Sjogrens Syndrome
Doctors have identified two ways that Sjogrens may develop. These are:
When To See A Doctor
Dry mouth and eyes arent usually a serious problem on their own, but if they appear with other symptoms or continue despite symptom management, it might be time to see a doctor. They could be the result of isolated problems with your eyes or mouth, or the result of a more serious chronic condition.
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Side Effects Of Sjogren’s Syndrome
Because chronic dry eye is one of the major symptoms of Sjogren’s syndrome, you must make sure your eyes are lubricated to avoid damage that can lead to scarring and infection of the eye.
Sjogren’s syndrome destroys glands responsible for lubricating eyes and other parts of the body.
Sjogren’s syndrome also can cause dryness of the mouth that can lead to tooth decay or even loss of teeth. Use of mouth lubricants may be needed to keep the mouth adequately moist and to assist in swallowing.
Also, people with Sjogren’s syndrome are more likely to develop lymphoma . Lymph nodes may become enlarged or swollen.
Sjogren’s syndrome also can lead to vasculitis that can cause problems throughout the body.
Pregnant women diagnosed with Sjogren’s syndrome should notify their doctors. Certain proteins produced by the immune system that are capable of attacking other potentially beneficial proteins in the body can be passed along to infants.
Reconsider Otc And Prescription Medicines
It is a common side effect for medicines to cause dryness. Over the counter medications that help with allergies or decongestion, such as antihistamines and some nasal sprays, are particularly known to make dryness worse. You may want to consider over-the-counter emollients or saline rises to cleanse and lubricate your nasal passages instead. You may also want to adjust or change your prescriptions to relieve dry sinus symptoms, but discussing all of your medications with your doctor is the best first step.
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You Have Dental Problems
Even if youre diligent about brushing and flossing, a lack of saliva could leave you vulnerable to a slew of dental issues. Saliva has a bacteriostatic effect, says Dr. McCoy. It doesnt kill bacteria, but it prevents them from replicating. Not only is there less saliva protecting your mouth, but the saliva that remains isnt as protective as the saliva in a healthy persons mouth, she adds. Some Sjögrens syndrome patients will get gingivitis or tooth decay others might notice mouth ulcers or a fungal infection that turns the tongue red or white.
How Will Sjgren’s Syndrome Affect Me
Though the symptoms can be uncomfortable and last quite a long time, you should be able to lead the life you want if the condition is treated properly. For most people, the condition only affects the tear and saliva glands, but some people may experience other symptoms, such as fatigue and joint inflammation.
If dryness of the eyes isnt treated, the front of your eye could become damaged and cause permanent sight problems. Seeing an optician regularly and using treatments for dry eyes can help stop this.
People with Sjögrens syndrome might be more likely to develop:
- hypothyroidism, when the thyroid gland is underactive
- Raynauds phenomenon, which causes the fingers to feel cold and turn blue
- inflamed blood vessels, known as vasculitis, which can cause reduced blood flow
- loss of feeling in the hands and feet, known as peripheral neuropathy
- IBS, causing tummy pain, diarrhoea and constipation
- kidney problems
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Antioxidants To Treat Dry Eye
Antioxidants have numerous health benefits and are present in fresh produce and some natural beverages. These 3 types of antioxidants were shown to be particularly promising in the treatment of some of the symptoms of Sjogren’s syndrome:
- Lutein: Lutein helps to combat dry eyes because it helps the eyes to retain moisture and lowers inflammation.
- Zeaxanthin: Zeaxanthin, like lutein, has also been used to treat many different eye problems including dry eye. It also minimizes inflammation in the eyes and helps to maintain the health of the eyes.
- Anthocyanin: Anthocyanin also lowers inflammation in the eyes and has a protective function that preserves good eyesight.
Foods that contain these three antioxidants:
- Sweet potatoes
These foods can be made as a part of many meals and the berries are delicious in smoothies. Just note that as with any other fruit, berries should be enjoyed in moderation.
Are There Any Sjogren’s Syndrome Complications
Sjogrens can take a toll on multiple organs throughout the body, including the lungs, liver, and kidneys. You might develop a persistent cough or come down with recurrent bronchitis, for example.
The worst complication is obviously lymphoma, Dr. Akpek notes.
Lymphoma is a type of cancer that begins in the affects the bodys infection-fighting white blood cells, called lymphocytes. In Sjogrens, these are the cells that attack the bodys moisture-producing glands. Why these cells become cancerous is unclear. But people with Sjogrens are much more likely to develop lymphoma than folks in the general population.
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Conditions That Cause Dry Eyes
Most of us have experienced the feeling of dry eyes at some point. A question many doctors hear often in the examination room is, What causes my eyes to be so dry? Dry eye can be caused by a breakdown or a destabilization in the tear film. Our tears are actually quite complicated and are composed of many things including minerals, proteins, natural antibiotics, and a host of other chemicals in addition to water, mucus, and oil. When any one of these components is lacking or if there is too much of one of them, the tear film becomes unstable and a dry eye condition may occur. But what causes this to occur in the first place? Interestingly, a dry eye condition can be caused by changes elsewhere in the body. Here are several systemic problems or diseases that can cause or contribute to dry eyes.
Dry Eyes And Mouth At Night
If you suffer from dry eyes and mouth at night, you will first want to check your sleeping area for drafts and irritants. Mouth breathing, allergies, and even certain medications can cause dryness. You may also have dry eyes if you wear contacts during the day or if you spend a lot of time in front of computer screens.
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Avoid Smoke And Alcohol
Smoking cigarettes and other substances worsens dryness and dehydration, as does drinking alcohol. Its best to avoid these stimulants if you are suffering from dry sinuses. Other smoke such as fire smoke or cooking smoke can have a similar drying effect, and should be limited or avoided to minimize dryness.
The Importance Of Tears
We usually only notice our tears when we cry, but our eyes are always covered by a thin layer of tears, known as a tear film.
Tears are made up of a mix of water, proteins, fats, mucus and infection-fighting cells. Tears serve several important functions. They:
- lubricate the eye
Saliva also serves several important functions, including:
- keeping the mouth and throat naturally lubricated
- aiding digestion by moistening food and containing enzymes that can break down certain starches
- acting as a natural disinfectant
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Sjogrens Syndrome Home Remedies
There are lots of steps you can take on your own to help manage your symptoms.
For dry mouth:
Sip water frequently.
Chew gum or suck on candy to stimulate saliva flow and help keep your mouth moist. Be sure they’re sugar-free so you don’t get cavities.
Try artificial saliva gels or sprays, especially before bed.
Ask your doctor, dentist, or pharmacist about mouthwashes or sprays that can relieve dryness. You might need to try several until you find a product that works for you.
Keep up with tooth brushing and flossing to avoid getting cavities.
Schedule regular checkups with your dentist.
For dry eyes, nose, or skin:
Use a humidifier or vaporizer at night. These machines also can help your dry mouth or nose.
Try a nasal saline spray or gel for dry nose.
Use warm water, not hot, when you bathe or shower if you have dry skin. Instead of using a towel after showering, let yourself “drip dry.” Your skin will absorb the moisture from the shower.
Identify The Type Of Fatigue
There are 13 types of fatigue that Sjogrens syndrome patients usually experience. Identifying the type of fatigue you have is essential before taking appropriate measures to mitigate the effects.
For example, if you are experiencing the so-called tired-wired fatigue, which occurs due to taking certain medications such as prednisone or consuming excess caffeine, decreasing their intake may reduce the severity of this type of fatigue.
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Joint Pain And Swelling
After tear and salivary glands, joints are the next most common sites of damage in Sjögrens syndrome, making joint pain a common symptom. Pain typically occurs in multiple joints at once, over a cycle involving painful flares followed by periods of little or no pain.
Inflammatory arthritis most commonly affects the fingers, wrists, and ankles, and appears as tenderness and swelling at those points. Pain may also occur in the shoulders, hips, and knees.
You Have Vaginal Dryness
Because Sjögrens syndrome often develops after the age of 40, you might chalk up vaginal changes to perimenopause or menopause. But Sjögrens syndrome can aggravate the thinning and inflammation of vaginal walls that your body naturally experiences as estrogen levels drop with age. This can lead to painful sex, a burning or itching sensation, and an increase in vaginal discharge. A small study of 30- to 68-year-old women published in the Archives of Rheumatology found that those with Sjögrens had more vaginal pain and lower levels of lubrication, arousal, satisfaction, and orgasm than their healthy counterparts.
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Get The Severity Of Your Fatigue Assessed
Before using techniques to deal with fatigue, assess the severity of your fatigue using the fatigue severity scale . The FSS is a nine-point questionnaire rated on a scale of 1 to 7, with a mean score above 5 indicating severe fatigue and requiring clinical attention.
While the FSS is a generic fatigue assessment scale, your doctor may use the more recent EULAR Sjogrens syndrome patients reported index that assesses the multi-dimensional nature of fatigue across dryness, fatigue, and musculoskeletal pain on a scale of 0 to 10.
Research And New Developments
Were funding several studies to improve understanding of Sjögrens syndrome and develop new and more effective treatments for the condition.
In people with this condition, immune cells form structures called tertiary lymphoid organs . Were currently funding a study to understand why TLOs are present, and whether removing them could improve the condition.
We are also supporting research to uncover what causes lymphoma to develop in a small number of people living with the condition. This research may allow doctors to predict who will develop lymphoma, which means people can be treated early.
Were also funding the SALRISE study, to establish whether electrostimulation of the salivary glands using a small electronic device can be used to treat a dry mouth.
This research will improve understanding and could allow new treatments to be developed.
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More Sjogrens Syndrome Symptoms
The disease can affect parts of the body other than the eyes and mouth. You may experience dryness in your nose or throat or on your skin. Sjögrens syndrome can also affect the joints, lungs, kidneys, blood vessels, digestive organs and nerves, causing symptoms such as:
- Swollen glands, specifically behind the jaw and in front of the ears
- Joint pain, swelling or stiffness
- Prolonged dry skin
- Chronic dry cough
- Vaginal dryness
- Problems urinating, including pain, urinating more than usual, getting up at night often to urinate and needing to urinate suddenly
- Numbness or tingling in your fingers and toes
- Prolonged fatigue and/or a feeling of tiredness that keeps you from daily activities
What You Might Not Know
Individuals with dry mouth should avoid sugary drinks. Thats the simplest advice that the medical establishment has. Its great advice, but what does it mean? We assume that youve seen your doctor to determine the root causes of your dry mouth and that, so far, the reason that you have dry mouth is unclear.
Again, the simple advice is to drink plenty of non-sugary fluids. Youve found that this doesnt work very effectively and you just have to drink way too much.
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Healthy Fats For Healthy Eyes Mouth And Skin
One of the roles of the fats that we consume is to keep our skin healthy and our hormones functioning as they should. Making sure that you include healthy fats in your diet can help to hydrate your skin and eyes as well as your mouth. It is completely wrong that fat makes you fat. In fact, you can even lose weight while eating full-fat foods.
Omega 3 is particularly good because it lowers inflammation in the body. For someone who suffers from Sjogren’s syndrome, keeping inflammation down is especially important. Omega 3 is also extremely beneficial for the joints and can help to keep them healthy.
- Hemp seeds
You may find that taking a krill oil supplement is helpful, but if you are vegan or vegetarian, you can take a flax oil supplement, or this EPA & DHA supplement. You can also consume a teaspoon of cold-pressed flaxseed oil daily. Omega 6 is also essential to your body.
This fatty acid is a lot easier to consume because it is used in so many different commercial foods and is present in nuts, seeds, and cooking oils. Too much can cause inflammation and deplete omega 3 in your body. So try to keep the ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 between 1:1 and 4:1.
- Vegetable oils
Saturated fat also forms part of a healthy diet and will be beneficial to your skin. Coconut oil, palm oil, and MCT oil are particularly healthy as they are short and medium-chain fatty acids meaning they will get absorbed quickly. MCT oil is great for eliminating fatigue.
- Coconut oil