Feel This Pain: S3E7 Sjögren’s

Feel This Pain: S3E7 Sjögren’s

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– Hello and welcome to another
edition of Feel This Pain. I’m Ken McKim and tonight
we’re going to be talking a little bit about something
known as Sjögren’s disease. Now, if you were to do a
cursory Google search on Sjögren’s, you might come away thinking, “Oh, it’s no big deal. It’s just dry mouth and dry eyes, right?” It’s much more than that. Sjögren’s is an autoimmune
disease that causes your lymphocytes to attack
your exocrine glands, which are responsible
for producing moisture in the eyes, mouth and other tissues. It is much more than just
a syndrome that makes your mouth dry and your eyes gritty. Now, many patients experience
dry eyes and dry mouth, but also fatigue and joint pain,
because of the inflammation that Sjögren’s can cause. A dry mouth is not a benign thing to have. Think about it. Without saliva you don’t
digest food as well, because saliva is the first
step in the digestion process. Also without saliva production,
your teeth are almost guaranteed to decay, and
you are much more prone to oral infections. What is Sjögren’s? There are basically
two types of Sjogren’s. Primary, where it occurs
on its own and Secondary, where it appears with
another autoimmune condition like rheumatoid arthritis or lupus. Sjögren’s can affect the
nervous system, resulting in Peripheral Neuropathy,
which is damage to the nerves in the arms and the legs,
which causes pain, numbness and weakness or Cranial
Neuropathy, which is the same thing in your face, with
a loss of taste and smell, on top of it. It can also affect the
kidneys with Glomerulonephritis, which is the inflammation
of the kidney’s filter, resulting in Edema, blood
in urine, and reduction in the amount of urine produced. Sounds fun, right? No. Sjögren’s can also affect
the lungs, inflaming the air sacs causing them to thicken and scar, which can make breathing very difficult. Are there treatments? Well, of course there are. It’s an incurable
condition, but you can treat the symptoms. Now, as far as medications
that increase production of saliva, there are a couple
you may have heard of. One is called Salagen
and the other is Evoxac. You should be able to get those from your doctor without too much trouble. If you develop the
arthritic symptoms that can sometimes accompany
Sjogren’s, you might want to talk to your doctor
about what are known as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory
medications or NSAIDS. Some people have good results with them. Again, want to talk to your doctor. If over the counter eye
drops aren’t effective for the dry eye, you might need
prescription eye drops. There’s even a surgical
option, where they seal off your tear ducts. So you retain more moisture in your eyes. It’s called a Punctal Occlusion. Again, it’s surgery, albeit minor surgery. You’ll want to think about it before you commit to that kind of an option. Above all, if you meet someone who has Sjögren’s, I would
encourage you to treat them with all the respect and
compassion they deserve, because this is not a cake walk. This is a very serious
condition, which often occurs alongside other serious
autoimmune conditions. Give them a break. They deserve it and you’ll
be a better person for doing so, right? That’s all the time we have this week. Thank you so much for joining me. If you have any questions,
please feel free to send them to me, [email protected] You can also follow me over
on twitter, @dontpunishpain. We’re out of time, but
I will see you again, and until next time, I’m Ken McKim. You take care. (motivational music)

9 thoughts on “Feel This Pain: S3E7 Sjögren’s”

  1. Thank you for all your research, songs, humor and activism. I have a friend with lupus and sjögren's. She is active on the main Facebook support page. I will send her this video. I know how encouraging it is to hear someone speak about your pain with sympathy as you have done with my diseases. So encouraging! Keep fighting the good fight. My best to you and your wife. Gentle hugs, Amy (fibro, cfs, eds, pots, and possibly Chiari malformation). P.s. My 4 year old son was also diagnosed with EOE (eosinophilic esophagitis) at Children's hospital. Your work is giving a voice to so many adults and children in pain.

  2. As an RN, and a Sjogren's patient, I want to thank you for the genuinely compassionate video. It was well done.

  3. I have been on low dose Naltrexone for 2 months and my symptoms are improving for my 5 autoimmune diseases that I have including Sjogren's. It is cheap and it is a compounded prescription.

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