Q: Do you happen to know how Sjogrens can affect you neurologically? I get
numbness/tingling on the left side of my body along with weakness. I also
experience neuropathy to my feet and hands. I have had 2 MRIs that showed a
non-specific white matter change and then one year later it showed 5
non-specific white matter changes. MDs convinced it's not MS. I am a 27 year old female.
A: Neurological conditions are common and diverse in Sjs, and they may be the presenting symptom (even without dryness). Sjs can effect all of the 3 major nervous systems- central (brain), peripheral (arms/legs), and autonomic (breathing, heart rate, temperature regulation). Research continues on trying to understand the underlying pathology. Inflammation, lymphocyte infiltration, and muscarinic antibodies have been implicated in the process.
The Sjogrens Syndrome Foundation (www.sjogrens.org) has several resources on Sjs and neurological conditions and there are two books available on there web site on Neurology that are very good (also available on Amazon.com). Much of the early work on CNS Sjs was published by Elaine Alexander, MD, PhD when she was at Johns Hopkins Medical Center, Rheumatology division.
The brain T2 lesions may be seen in Sjs and can be confused with MS. It can be challenging to determine if symptoms are related to the lesions or not. If they may be causing symptoms, a trial of immune modulators can be tried, and the number of the T2 lesions can decrease. Hopefully you have or can find, a Rheumatologist and Neurologist in your area to work with you.