Sjögren's May Make Life Harder

Sjogrens syndrome patients may have increased disability and lower quality of life

(RxWiki News) Living with a chronic disease can make daily tasks more difficult than they should be. In a recent study, researchers looked at how Sjögren's syndrome affects patients' ability to function. The study's results highlight the importance of properly managing all aspects of Sjögren's syndrome.

Compared to healthy people, patients with Sjögren's syndrome had more problems with daily function, which lowered their quality of life.

According to the study authors, these findings suggest patients with Sjögren's syndrome experience significant disability compared to healthy individuals.

"Seek treatment for Sjögren's syndrome."

The two main symptoms of Sjögren's syndrome are dry eyes and dry mouth. However, the condition can cause many other problems, including joint pain and stiffness, persistent dry cough and fatigue - all of which can get in the way of day-to-day life.

Wan-Fai Ng, PhD, FRCP, CCT, of Newcastle University in the United Kingdom, and colleagues wanted to see how Sjögren's syndrome affected daily function.

Compared to healthy people, patients with Sjögren's syndrome had more functional disability. That is, Sjögren's syndrome patients had higher scores on the Improved Health Assessment Questionnaire (HAQ) index.

The Improved HAQ is a scale from 0 to 100 that measures patients' level of disability.

In the study, patients with Sjögren's syndrome had an HAQ score of about 24 while the healthy participants had a score of about nine.

The disability experienced by patients with Sjögren's syndrome were linked with a number of signs and symptoms, including:

  • physical fatigue
  • pain
  • depression
  • dryness
  • daytime drowsiness
  • higher levels of anxiety
  • higher levels of C-reactive protein - a sign of inflammation

Disability in Sjögren's syndrome was also linked to a higher burden from symptoms, higher disease activity and lower quality of life.

The size of the study was small, including only 69 patients with Sjögren's syndrome and 69 healthy volunteers. As such, more research is needed to confirm the results.

The study was funded by the UK's National Institute of Health Research, Elizabeth Casson Trust, Medical Research Council, Newcastle Clinical Research Facilities and the Northumberland, Tyne and Wear Musculoskeletal Comprehensive Local Research Network.

The study was published October 27 in Arthritis Care & Research, a journal of the American College of Rheumatology.

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Review Date: 
November 1, 2012