Sjogren's Disease Terms

“You Mean it Isn’t In My Head?” GLOSSARY and References


Antibody – A protective protein created by immune cells that responds to identified foreign substances by eliminating them from the body.

Antigen – Unique markers on the surface of a substance that identify it as foreign.

Antinuclear Antibody (ANA) – An antibody that is programmed to attack the nucleus of our own cells of a certain type.

Artificial Trans Fats – A form of unsaturated fat that is created by converting liquids into semi-solid oils (hydrogenation) to extend the shelf life of foods sold in stores.

Autoantibodies – Antibodies against one’s own tissues.

Biologics – A type of DMARD that incorporates real biological material and uses lab engineering to create proteins that alter the way specific parts of the immune system work. It either comes as an injection or in some cases a patient must go into a doctor’s office for an infusion. 

Cevimeline Hydrochloride (Evoxac) – A prescription medication that promotes tear and saliva production.

C-Reactive Protein (CRP) – This is a substance that rises in response to inflammatory cytokines. It signals other parts of the immune system to come and clean up the dead or dying cells that have been attacked.

Cyclosporine (Restasis) – Prescription anti-inflammatory eye drops. Patent expires 2024.

Cytokines – Chemical messengers that alert immune cells to an invader and tell them where to find it.

Disease-Modifying Antirheumatic Drugs (DMARDs) – Prescription medications that reduce inflammation throughout the body.

Endocrine Glands – Different glands found in specific places in the body that produce and release hormones into the bloodstream.

Epithelial Tissue – Sheets of cells which protect surfaces like skin, or line/cover organs within the body.

Exocrine Glands – These glands are designed to produce and release fluids into tissues throughout the body to make things operate smoothly. 

Hydroxychloroquine (HCL) (Plaquenil) – A DMARD. It’s not known exactly how this drug helps rheumatic disorders, but it’s believed it might interfere with communication within the immune system – it’s not an immunosuppressant that would make you susceptible to infection but may require routine blood work to monitor white blood cell counts. 

Inflammation – The first step in our body’s system of defense and repair. It involves an intricate communication system of chemical messengers throughout the body, which can be triggered in several ways. Under normal circumstances, an injury or foreign substance invading the body will trigger the cells of the immune system to come to the rescue and start the healing process ASAP. 

La (SSB) – One of the autoantibodies that may be present in Sjogren’s.

Lifitegrast Ophthalmic Solution (Xiidra) – Prescription anti-inflammatory eyedrops. Patent expires May 29, 2029.

Lymphocyte – A type of white blood cell that is meant to fight infection. In Sjogren’s lymphocytes attack our exocrine glands.

Methotrexate – A DMARD. This drug is an immunosuppressant, so you will be more susceptible to bacterial or viral infections.

Neuropathy – Damage to nerves. Peripheral neuropathy is damage to the nerves that extend out beyond our brain and/or spinal cord to the different parts throughout the body. 

Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) – Can be over-the-counter drugs like Ibuprofen, or prescription medications like Meloxicam (Mobic).

Omega-3 Fatty Acids – These essential fatty acids are considered (very) “good” fats. Studies have consistently shown a trend toward reducing inflammation when we eat them.

Omega-6 Fatty Acids – An essential fatty acid we must consume through food, but too much is linked to increased inflammation.

Pathogen – An outside germ or substance that enters the body and is identified as an invader that needs to be removed from the body by the immune system.

Pilocarpine (Salagen) – A prescription medication that promotes tear and saliva production.

Prednisone – A corticosteroid used for short-term treatment of musculoskeletal pain.  

Punctal Plugs – Very small plugs inserted into the eye duct where tears normally drain into the back of your nose and throat. This helps keep tears on your eyes for longer. 

Rheumatoid Factor (RF) – This protein is an antibody that targets joints or glands. It was the first one identified in people with rheumatoid arthritis, but it turns out it’s present in people with a number of autoimmune diseases. 

Ro (SSB) – One of the autoantibodies that may be present in Sjogren’s.

Sedimentation Rate (Sed Rate) – During inflammation, the liver releases a protein that makes red blood cells stick together. When they stick together, they become denser/heavier clumps. The sed rate test measures how fast they sink in a test tube that’s been spun in a centrifuge. 


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