Sjogren’s syndrome is a rare, autoimmune disease in which a person’s immune system mistakenly attacks glands that produce secretions such as tears (lachrymal glands) and saliva (salivary glands). This causes dryness in the mouth and throat and in the eyes, leading to discomfort and pain.
Because Sjogren’s syndrome can be stressful to deal with, here are some tips that might help.
Understand your symptoms
The symptoms of Sjogren’s syndrome can develop on their own (primary Sjogren’s syndrome) or occur alongside other autoimmune diseases such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis (secondary Sjogren’s syndrome).
Understanding the nature of common Sjogren’s symptoms, like dry eyes and dry mouth, and knowing how to deal with them can help ease irritation and the stress and frustration it causes.
One helpful idea is to note these symptoms and the steps you take to address them in your personal health record, making it easier to recognize and treat them as they arise.
Lead an active lifestyle
It is important to stay active and fit at all times. Develop a schedule where you are able to allocate time for both work and leisure.
Proper diet, good hydration, and maintaining healthy interactions with family and friends, colleagues, and caregivers can all help in reducing stress.
Exercise can be a good way of relieving stress, and can help improve joint mobility and reduce swelling. Consult your doctor or physiotherapist for a personalized exercise regimen. Make sure not to overdo any activity that can potentially cause injury.
Avoid environmental triggers
Autoimmune diseases such as Sjogren’s syndrome are highly likely to be triggered by environmental factors such as pollution, infections, certain medications, diet, and allergy-causing agents. Make a note of potential environmental triggers, and try to steer clear of them as much as possible.
Consult your doctor on what changes you can make to your lifestyle and workspace in order to minimize exposure to such triggers and avoid a potential autoimmune attack.
Try to relax
Anxiety and depression can compound the stress already caused by the symptoms of your disease, and can lead to a sense of dejection and failure. Patients and caregivers should watch for signs of depression and take immediate action to address them should they become evident. It is a good idea to consult a doctor at the earliest indications to avoid a worsening of symptoms.
Network with other patients and support groups
Networking with other patients can help you learn from another’s experiences and is a good way to avoid potential stress triggers.
While family and friends can also help, organizations such as the Sjogren’s Syndrome Foundation and the Arthritis Foundation can provide opportunities to build contacts with others in similar situations. For those who speak the language, there’s also the Swedish Sjogren’s Syndrome Foundation.
Last updated: Dec. 03, 2019
Sjogren’s Syndrome News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.