DEAR DOCTOR K: I have Sjogren's syndrome. People tend to dismiss it as a problem with dry eyes, but it's so much more than that. Can you please describe this condition for your readers?
DEAR READER: Sjogren's (pronounced "show grins") syndrome is a lifelong condition. It does tend to be best known for causing dry eyes, but it can cause other problems as well. For example, Sjogren's syndrome can produce dry mouth and affect any of the body's glands, including those that secrete sweat, saliva and oil. About half of people with Sjogren's syndrome also have another connective-tissue disease such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus. Named after Swedish eye doctor Dr. Henrik Sjogren, this syndrome affects people of all ages and races. However, 90 percent of all cases involve women, most commonly between the ages of 45 and 55.