Monday, 13 July 2009

Natural Treatments for Sjogren's Syndrome

By Troy Stevens

Autoimmune diseases like Sjogren's Syndrome are among the most serious and distressing of illnesses. In these diseases, the body literally becomes its own worst enemy and turns on itself. These diseases can be life threatening and are usually accompanies by inflammation and severe pain. In Sjogren's Syndrome, the white blood cells attack the endocrine system.

In the case of Sjogren's Syndrome, the body's immune system turns on the endocrine system, especially the tear and saliva glands. Most Sjogren's patients are women, with about four million people suffering from the disease worldwide.

Diagnosis - The symptoms and mechanisms of action in Sjogren's Syndrome are very similar to those of other autoimmune diseases such as arthritis and lupus, both of which it is often misdiagnosed as.

No definitive cause; not a gene, a hormone or an enzyme has been identified, though a hereditary pattern has been seen. Accurate diagnosis can take a lip biopsy, testing the eyes and mouth for dryness, blood tests and an examination of the patient's medical history.

To diagnose the syndrome accurately, testing for dry eyes and mouth, blood tests for relevant antibodies, a lip biopsy and a complete medical history of the patient' symptoms is needed.

Common Medications - Like other autoimmune diseases, there is no cure for Sjogren's Syndrome at this time. The medications given to sufferers are aimed at reducing the pain and inflammation the disease causes. Non-steroidal inflammatory medications like aspirin, naproxen and ibuprofen are commonly used. When there is internal organ involvement, immunosuppressive medications and corticosteroids may be prescribed as well.

Natural Treatments - Natural treatments for the disease are directed at the goal of reducing the severity of the syndrome's symptoms. Eye dryness and dry mouth are treated with artificial saliva and tears. Natural remedies used by many patients include rest and light regimens of regular exercise, Patients are also recommended to eat a diet which is rich in nutrients that support healthy immune function.

Some sufferers have found some relief from their symptoms through herbal remedies, especially treatments which are designed to support immune system.

For the pain and inflammation caused by Sjogren's Syndrome, acupuncture and acupressure work for many patients. Preventive Care Since Sjogren's Syndrome is incurable, patients have to exercise preventative measures to keep their dry eyes from irritation, corneal damage and infections by regularly using artificial tears.

Preventive Care - Because there is no cure, preventing damage to the eyes, especially by avoiding dust, smoke and protecting the eyes from dry wind is important. Preventing dry eye will also help prevent corneal abrasions and infections that are commonly seen in this syndrome. Patients are also cautioned about using hair dryers or letting the eyes dry out excessively. A doctor should immediately examine any inflammation, redness, pus or pain in the eye.

It is also very important for those with the syndrome to brush and floss daily. Either regular or natural dental products are helpful. Keeping the teeth and mouth clean will help prevent gum and mouth sores. Drinking plenty of fluids, humidifying the air and using artificial saliva helps prevent gum and dental infections.

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