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Complications

Sjögren's syndrome can sometimes lead to further problems, or you may have it alongside other conditions.

If you have very dry eyes and they're not treated, there's a risk the front layer of your eyes could become damaged over time. This could lead to permanent vision problems.

There are several treatments for dry eyes that can help reduce this risk. Read about them on our page about treatment for Sjögren's syndrome. You should also have regular check-ups with an optician so any problems are found early.

Contact a GP as soon as possible if you have problems with your vision.

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Sjögren's syndrome can sometimes affect the lungs and cause problems such as:

  • lung infections
  • widening of the airways in the lungs (bronchiectasis)
  • scarring of the lungs

If you smoke, quitting may help reduce the risk of these conditions. Read more about stopping smoking.

See a GP if you have a cough, wheezing or shortness of breath that does not go away.

Most women with Sjögren's syndrome can get pregnant and have healthy babies.

But if you're planning a pregnancy, it's a good idea to get advice from a GP or specialist because there's a small risk of complications for some women.

These include:

  • a rash on the baby that lasts a few weeks
  • serious heart problems in the baby

These problems can happen if you have certain antibodies (produced by your immune system) sometimes found in people with Sjögren's syndrome. A blood test can be done to look for these.

If these antibodies are found, you can still get pregnant, but you may need extra care from a specialist during your pregnancy and after the birth.

People with Sjögren's syndrome have an increased risk of getting a type of cancer called non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

This affects the lymphatic system, a network of vessels and glands found throughout the body.

Research shows people with Sjögren's syndrome are about 5 times more likely to get non-Hodgkin lymphoma than people who do not have the condition. But the chances of getting it are still small.

See a GP if you have symptoms of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, such as:

  • painless swollen glands, usually in your neck, armpit or groin
  • night sweats
  • unintended weight loss

Non-Hodgkin lymphoma can often be cured if it's found early.

Other conditions that have been linked to Sjögren's syndrome include: