In Rheumatoid Arthritis and Sjögren’s Syndrome, we discussed how patients living with RA have an increased risk of developing secondary Sjögren’s Syndrome (SS). Early diagnosis and treatment are important for the prevention of complications in Sjögren’s. However, reaching a diagnosis can often be difficult and may take an average of six and a half years from the onset of symptoms, according to the Sjögren’s Syndrome Foundation.
Sjögren’s syndrome symptoms frequently overlap with or “mimic” those of other diseases including lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome and multiple sclerosis. Dryness can also occur for other reasons, such as a side effect of medications such as anti-depressants and high blood pressure medication.
There is no single test that will confirm diagnosis. Your doctor will base a diagnosis on medical history, physical exam, combination of symptoms, and results from clinical and laboratory tests. A rheumatologist is often responsible for diagnosing and managing Sjögren’s Syndrome. Criteria for diagnosis considers dryness symptoms, changes in salivary (mouth) and lacrimal (eye) gland function, and systemic (whole body) findings.
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Sjögren’s Syndrome - Common Tests for Diagnosis