Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Managing Sjogren's Syndrome

Jane Brody, health columnist for the New York Times, recently wrote about Sjogren's Syndrome, one of the three most common autoimmune disorders. Although the article was valuable for alerting people to it's "chameleon" symptoms for faster diagnosis, Brody missed the "management" of the disease entirely.

Because there is no known cure, management of symptoms (eye drops for dryness and inflammation, drinking water constantly so food doesn't get stuck in the throat, etc) is the medical route. But even though Brody mentioned gluten sensitivity, digestive problems, yeast imbalance, and sensitivity to spices are common symptoms, she did not suggest that food intolerance is the major causative factor and can be treated by avoiding the offending foods.

Gluten Intolerance (celiac is 100% gluten intolerance) is an autoimmune disease that if untreated, becomes lymphoma - which Rheumatologists check their Sjogren's patients for regularly. In a 2004 report in Archives of Internal Medicine, 34 Sjogren's patients were tested for celiac. Five patients had it. Many more may have had gluten intolerance, but inflammatory.

In a 2005 article posted in Cellular Molecular Life Science, Sjogren's was listed as one of the most common disorders caused by gluten intolerance. Thus, I recommend that all individuals with Sjogren's take a test for gluten intolerance (or avoid gluten for two months). If the test is negative, then one needs a food intolerance test, such as Biotrition, the lab that we use to test IgG reactions to over 200 foods, spices, and food chemicals.



paula said...

For information on Sjogren's Syndrome see
Gluten intolerance does not become lymphoma.
The management of Sjogren's Syndrome by the medical professional includes an armamentarium of medications including, Restasis, Evoxac Plaquenil, Methotrexate, Steroids, etc. By no means is it limited to over the counter products which are used to manage some of th symptoms of dry eye and mouth.
Physical therapy can also help with some of the Fibromyalgia symptoms.
Sjogren's is not caused by Gluten Intolerance.It is posible that the inflammatory aspect of Sjogren'sSyndrome makes the GI tract more sensitive to some foods including those containing Gluten's.
Food intolerance can be checked by keeping a food diary and working in conjunction with an allergist or licensed nutritionist. It is not always necessary to do blood or other testing. The reliability of some of those tests is not high.
Less than 6% of people with Sjogren's develop Lymphoma. said...

You have a closed mind Paula. You obviously have not studied the strong connection between autoimmune disease (Sjogrens being one of them) and gluten intolerance. But don't take my word for it, refer to the Cleveland Clinic and Mayo Clinic gluten intolerance/celiac websites. They both discuss the autoimmune disease aspects.

Minty said...

There is also evidence that Hashimoto's thyroiditis and gluten intolerance are very frequently linked.

I can vouch that it's changed my life to go gluten-free...

Alaina M. Coyle said...

Thanks for writing this blog and drawing attention to this illness. Something interesting that I read about Sjogren's Syndrome was to have all your medical information easily accessible when traveling. I use Freespirit Enterprise to make sure my vacations go smoothly if my Sjogren's syndrome symptoms flare up and I need to visit a doctor abroad. The site also has great tips on dealing with SS