Sjögren’s syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis and lupus overlap
Inflammatory systemic autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and Sjögren’s syndrome, have all been found to overlap. Lupus is an autoimmune disease that causes the immune system to produce antibodies that produce widespread inflammation all over the body and can result in tissue damage. Any part of the body, including the skin, joints, brain, lungs, kidneys, blood vessels and other internal organs, can be affected by lupus.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that causes arthritis. Once again the immune system creates antibodies that result in inflammation in and around the joints. Joints then become quite painful and mobility may be compromised.
Lastly, Sjögren’s syndrome is inflammation of the exocrine glands — glands which expel substances like sweat or mucus. Sjögren’s syndrome can cause dry mouth, dry eyes and even digestion issues.
Although it may seem like the obvious overlap in all three conditions is that they are autoimmune diseases, researchers have found a specific gene linking all three together.