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Sjogren's syndrome - Complications of Sjogren's syndrome

NHS Choices Medical Reference

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Sjogren's syndrome is not often life-threatening, but it is linked to more serious


Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma

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

Non-Hodgkin's 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 Sjogren's syndrome developing non-Hodgkin's lymphoma is still small, as it only affects about 5% of patients.

If you have Sjogren's syndrome, be alert for the main early symptom of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma - a painless swelling in a lymph node (gland), usually in the neck, armpit or groin. Report any swollen lymph nodes to your GP.

Read more about non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

Eye damage

If dry eyes are not treated, they can become infected and develop ulcers on the surface of the eyes, called corneal ulcers.

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


If you are planning to become pregnant and have Sjogren's syndrome, ask your GP to test for certain antibodies that may be present in Sjogren's syndrome and are known to cause lupus 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 cannot proceed with the pregnancy, but your child may need additional specialist care during pregnancy and after the birth.

Read more about antenatal appointments.

Other conditions

There are a number of other conditions that have been linked to Sjogren's syndrome, including: 

Medical Review: October 07, 2012
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