Celiac Disease and Sjögren’s
What is Sjögren’s?
Sjögren’s (pronounced SHOW-grins) syndrome is an autoimmune disease characterized most often by dry eyes and a dry mouth. It is estimated to affect four million Americans of all ages, genders, races and ethnicities.
Sjögren’s causes white blood cells, called lymphocytes, to target, attack and damage moisture-producing glands. This can lead to problems such as difficulty swallowing, dental cavities and vision problems.
Sjögren’s can also result in damage to tissues of the lungs, kidneys and liver. Some people may experience joint pain, swollen salivary glands, skin rashes or dry skin, persistent dry cough or fatigue. Anyone can develop this condition, however it is more common in women, people over the age of 40, and people who have a rheumatic disease such as arthritis and lupus.
Although there is no cure for Sjögren’s, treatments can relieve many of the symptoms.
What is the Connection between Celiac Disease and Sjögren’s?
- Both celiac disease and Sjögren’s are autoimmune diseases
- Celiac disease has many symptoms in common with Sjögren’s, such as painful joints and indigestion, which may make diagnosis difficult
- Both celiac disease and Sjögren’s are associated with an increased risk of lymphoma
- In patients who have Sjögren’s in addition to celiac disease, it is necessary to continue to maintain a strict gluten-free diet, however, there is not much evidence that a gluten-free diet can help those who only have Sjögren’s
Where Can I Learn More?
Do you or a family member suffer from Sjögren’s? You may have celiac disease. Find out now. Take our Celiac Disease Symptoms Checklist.