A percentage of people with rheumatoid arthritis go on to develop Sjögren's syndrome (SS) which is another autoimmune disorder. When someone with an established autoimmune disease develops SS it is called Secondary Sjögren's syndrome.
The basic symptoms are dry eyes and dry mouth but the list of symptoms is long and not everyone gets all of them.
In a 2013 study researchers found that RA patients with secondary Sjögren’s syndrome had distinct features that set them apart from those with RA alone:
- higher RA disease activity.
- more severe arthritis, with a greater number of swollen, tender, and deformed joints.
- tended to be older and have a longer duration of RA.
- appeared to have stronger hereditary component to their disease.
- a clearer history of autoimmune disease in their family.
- presence of certain antibodies, rheumatoid factor (RF) as well as other auto-antibodies (SSA and SSB).
- more likely to have blood abnormalities.
- more likely to have fever and rash.
- were more likely to have Interstitial lung disease, a common lung complication.
Find out more about Sjogren's Syndrome at Sjogren's Syndrome Info