Sjögren's syndrome can sometimes lead to further problems or occur 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.
If this isn't spotted and treated, it could lead to permanent problems with your vision.
Contact your GP as soon as possible if you have problems with your vision.
Sometimes Sjögren's syndrome can 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, stopping may help reduce the risk of these conditions. Read more advice about stopping smoking.
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 your GP or specialist because there's a small risk of complications in some women.
- a rash in the baby that lasts a few weeks
- serious heart problems in the baby
These problems can occur if you have certain antibodies (produced by the 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 additional specialist care during pregnancy and after the birth.
People with Sjögren's syndrome have an increased risk of developing a type of cancer called non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
This affects the lymphatic system, a network of vessels and glands found throughout the body.
Research suggests people with Sjögren's syndrome are about five times more likely to get non-Hodgkin lymphoma than those who don't have the condition, but the chances of getting it are still small.
See your GP if you develop symptoms of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, such as:
- painless swollen glands, usually in the neck, armpit or groin
- night sweats
- unintended weight loss
Non-Hodgkin lymphoma can often be cured if it's caught early on.
A number of other conditions have been linked to Sjögren's syndrome, including:
- Raynaud's phenomenon – restricted blood flow to the hands and feet, which can cause them to feel cold, numb and painful
- an underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism) – which can cause tiredness and weight gain
- irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) – which can cause tummy pain, diarrhoea or constipation
- peripheral neuropathy – a condition that causes loss of sensation in the hands and feet
- kidney problems – such as kidney inflammation or kidney stones
- inflammation of the blood vessels (vasculitis) – which can cause a rash that looks like small bruises or reddish-purple spots