The Challenges and Complications of Living with Sjögren’s Syndrome
This work was aimed at understanding the challenges and complications of living with Sjögren’s Syndrome (SS). We examined health-related quality of life (HRQoL) and utilization of dental care among individuals with SS. Additionally, we sought to identify genetic risk variants associated with germinal center-like structures in labial salivary glands among individuals with SS. In these studies, we utilized the well-characterized Sjögren’s International Collaborative Clinical Alliance (SICCA) registry and applied the 2012 American College of Rheumatology classification criteria for SS. Various statistical tools were used in these studies including multivariate linear and logistical regression models, Mann-Whitney U test, and chi-square test. Statistical interaction, stratification, and genetic association analyses were also explored in our analyses. We found that individuals with SS had better physical and mental HRQoL and less depression when compared to SICCA participants without SS. Although individuals with SS had more dental needs than individuals without SS, they had less dental care utilization. And finally, we showed that individuals with SS and GC-like structures in their labial salivary glands were more likely to harbor genetic risk variants within B-cell activating factor (BAFF) and tumor necrosis factor, alpha-induced protein 3 (TNFAIP3). Therefore, individuals with SS experience significant health care challenges and complications. Fortunately, these can be managed, and even prevented, with early intervention by a multidisciplinary team of health care professionals consisting of rheumatologists, ophthalmologists, dentists, and oral medicine specialists.