Sjögren's ("SHOW-grins") syndrome is a chronic disease in which white blood cells attack the moisture-producing glands. Some mold victims appear to be effected by this malady. The hallmark symptoms are dry eyes and dry mouth, but it is a systemic disease, affecting many organs and may cause fatigue.
Sjögren's syndrome is an autoimmune disease in which the body's immune system mistakenly attacks its own moisture producing glands. Sjögren's is one of the most prevalent autoimmune disorders, striking as many as 4,000,000 Americans. Nine out of ten patients are women. The average age of onset is late 40s although Sjögren's occurs in all age groups in both women and men.
About 50% of the time Sjögren's syndrome occurs alone, and 50% of the time it occurs in the presence of another connective tissue disease, such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, or scleroderma. Sometimes researchers refer to the first type as "Primary Sjögren's" and the second as "Secondary Sjögren's." All instances of Sjögren's syndrome are systemic, affecting the entire body.
The hallmark symptoms are dry eyes and dry mouth. Sjögren's may also cause dryness of other organs, affecting the kidneys, GI tract, blood vessels, lung, liver, pancreas, and the central nervous system. Many patients experience debilitating fatigue and joint pain. Symptoms can plateau, worsen, or go into remission. While some people experience mild symptoms, others suffer debilitating symptoms that greatly impair their quality of life.