Sjogren’s syndrome is an autoimmune disease that can cause dry eyes and dry mouth. It mainly affects middle-aged women, but it rarely strikes men. Here we will discuss the 10 things which you should avoid with Sjogren’s syndrome.
Unlike most other autoimmune diseases, Sjogren’s is primarily a systemic condition. That means it involves more than just one or two organs in the body. Instead, Sjogren’s affects one or more of the organs in more than just a spotty, patchy way.
Sjogren’s syndrome is caused by your immune system attacking cells in various places throughout your body. That means dry eyes and mouth are only two (and probably not the most serious) problems that can result from this condition.
The complicated condition of Sjogren’s
With treatment, most people with Sjogren’s do eventually get better. There is no cure for any autoimmune condition with Allopathy which Ayurveda treats autoimmunity with better skills. But over time the symptoms improve for most people with this disease. Because of this, many doctors prefer to call it an “indolent,” or slow-moving disease, rather than a fatal one because there is hope for improvement and even eventual recovery without fatal consequences
You may think that having dry mouth and eyes would be the worst problems you could have. But in most cases, it’s not as bad as it sounds. Many people with Sjogren’s syndrome live a perfectly normal lifestyle and never develop major complications from their disease. In fact, many people don’t even know they have Sjogren’s! One analysis of records showed that only one third of patients had been properly diagnosed or received any treatment for their dry mouth or eyes.
When Did It Become an Autoimmune Disease?
Sjogren’s is definitively considered to be an autoimmune disease because it produces antibodies that attack proteins made by your own body cells, not foreign antigens (antibody targets).
However, until recently it was thought that the primary problem in Sjogren’s syndrome occurred when immune cells called T lymphocytes attacked the exocrine glands (the salivary and lacrimal glands), which make saliva and tears. In most cases of Sjogren’s, anti-nuclear antibodies attack proteins found within the nucleus of certain white blood cells. This led to a theory about autoimmune disease that linked autoimmunity with cellular DNA (and hence chromosomes) rather than cellular proteins.
The craziness of Immune System in Sjogren’s syndrome?
However, there is new evidence that supports older theories about how Sjogren’s works that casts doubt on these “new” ideas. In fact, this newer research actually shows strong support for the conventionally accepted model of autoimmune disease.
According to this new theory, antibodies (produced by B lymphocytes) attack the complex sugars that coat certain proteins on the surface of white blood cells. White blood cells are also known as leukocytes and they include not only lymphocytes but all other types of white blood cells as well: monocytes, neutrophils, basophils and eosinophils. The combination of attacking cell surface proteins plus anti-nuclear antibodies produces a more destructive autoimmune response and helps to explain why Sjogren’s is so debilitating for many people who have it.
What are the things which make Sjogren’s syndrome complicated?
Sjogren’s syndrome is not as straightforward and simple a disease as some other autoimmune conditions. It’s not like celiac disease, for example, where you have to avoid eating gluten if you want to stay healthy. Instead, Sjogren’s is complicated by the fact that it involves more than one organ in your body at once. And because it can affect one or both of the exocrine glands – the salivary and lacrimal glands – people with this condition can have symptoms completely unrelated to dry eyes or dry mouth!
The 10 things you should avoid in Sjogren’s Syndrome
This list can be long enough, but we have shortlisted the 10 biggest things. These are 10 things that we have witnessed in our clinical practices. Please avoid these to control your condition of Sjogren’s syndrome.
Here are the things which you should avoid in Sjogren’s syndrome?
1. Avoid Alcohol!
Do Not use mouthwash if you are suffering from Sjogren’s syndrome. It may contain alcohol and it will hurt your mouth more than it helps. Saliva is a natural anti-bacterial agent; so when you add an artificial antibacterial solution to that mix, you can cause gum disease or dry out your lips even more than they already are. If necessary drink water instead of juice and coffee or tea to keep your thirst down. And make sure not to smoke cigarettes because smoking reduces saliva production, giving rise to dryness in the oral cavity and also causing bone erosion …
Use wetting agents in home-cooked food that are non-sugar-based like sodium bicarbonate(NaHCO3), citric acid (dissolved in water), and others.
2. Avoid High Protein Foods!
Avoid high protein foods: if you have Sjogren’s syndrome, as your saliva is already low, it will not help to consume a lot of proteins. What happens with that is it starts digesting these foods within the mouth itself, causing tooth decay. It is advisable to stick to a vegetarian or non-meat diet as much as possible …..
The problem with all autoimmune conditions is, we just want to increase our immunity. But in autoimmunity is not just about increasing immunity.
3. Avoid Yeast Foods!
Yeast foods that are high in carbohydrate content should not be consumed as they may promote the growth of Candida albicans, a yeast-like fungus that can thrive in warm, moist environments such as the mouth and vagina. Candida is usually harmless; however, if you have a suppressed immune system, you will want to avoid it at all costs including sugar
4. Avoid Citrus Fruits!
Menopause (in Sjogren’s syndrome) has many symptoms associated with it especially the dryness of the eyes, mouth and genital area where mucous membranes are found. The common cold sore problem occurs due to this dryness of lips and therefore it is very important to keep your lips as moisturized as possible with natural oils or lip balms which do not contain petroleum jelly or mineral oil.
5. Avoid Heat!
Heat also dries up the mouth and eyes. So if you can avoid it, do so? The best way to get warmth in the winter months is by wearing warm clothes, keeping heating low during night hours, and using cold packs on the face for 10 minutes every hour …..
6. Coughing Lessens Excess Saliva Production!
Coughing lessens excess saliva production. When we cough, salivary glands become active and start producing saliva. This saliva helps protect against infections of a variety of different types including respiratory infections. So instead of using artificial cough syrup with lots of chemicals and other ingredients, use an herbal cough syrup with honey. Honey has anti-bacterial properties. But using honey blindly can increase the problem of dryness. For this, you need to consult an Ayurvedic Physician.
7. Avoid Sweet Foods!
Avoid sweets: While having a sweet tooth is normal, it will cause many health issues when you have Sjogren’s syndrome. Therefore, it may be better to avoid them altogether until your condition improves
8. Avoid Pungent Food!
Pungent food increase Vata which again increases dryness in the eyes, mouth, etc as Vata represents AIR in the human universe. So try not to eat foods like black peppers, fenugreek seeds, horseradish, etc… it could also worsen your digestion problems and may even cause acidity or diarrhea.
9. Avoid Dehydrating Activities!
Avoid strenuous activities such as running, walking up the stairs, etc and also avoid any activities which will cause excessive sweating e.g playing a sport like tennis where there’s lots of running around in hot weather conditions. This helps to avoid dehydration in your body …..
10. Don’t get into Stress!
Stress can dry out your eyes, mouth, etc as it causes inflammation in the body. So try not to get stressed or discouraged easily… Just let go with meditation and breathing exercises. If you practice yoga regularly, then it’s helpful too for relaxing and stress management