Complications of Sjögren's syndrome 

Sjögren's syndrome isn't usually life-threatening, but it is linked to more serious problems.

Non-Hodgkin lymphoma

It's estimated that people with Sjögren's syndrome are 44 times more likely to develop non-Hodgkin lymphoma than people without the condition.

Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is a cancer of the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system is a series of vessels and glands (lymph nodes) that are spread throughout your body, much like your blood vessels.

While this increased risk may sound alarming, the chance of a person with Sjögren’s syndrome developing non-Hodgkin lymphoma is still small, as it only affects around 5% of people with the syndrome.

However, if you have Sjögren’s syndrome, you should be aware of the main early symptom of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, which is a painless swelling in a lymph node (gland) – usually in the neck, armpit or groin. Report any swollen lymph nodes to your GP.

Eye damage

If dry eyes aren't treated, they can become inflamed and you can develop ulcers on the surface of your eyes (corneal ulcers).

If left untreated, corneal ulcers can lead to loss of vision and permanent sight damage.

Pregnancy

If you're planning to become pregnant and have Sjögren's syndrome, ask your GP to test for certain antibodies that may be present in Sjögren's syndrome and are known to cause a temporary lupus rash in newborn babies. In very rare cases, the antibodies can also cause heart defects in babies.

If these antibodies are found, there should be no reason why you can't continue with the pregnancy, but your child may need additional specialist care during pregnancy and after the birth.

Read more about antenatal appointments.

Other conditions

A number of other conditions have been linked to Sjögren's syndrome, including: 


Page last reviewed: 14/10/2014

Next review due: 14/10/2016