Sometimes the best advice comes from real patients who are living with symptoms like yours every day.
Below are tips from real Sjögren’s patients about managing symptoms of dryness:
- Keep a food diary. Acidic food and drinks, like vinegar-based salad dressings or orange juice, can be a pain in the mouth for Sjögren’s patients – literally. Keep track of foods that seem to trigger or aggravate your dry-mouth symptoms so you know what to avoid in the future.
- Single-serving condiments are meal-savers. Keep single-serving salad dressings handy so you always have a "dry-mouth-friendly" condiment available.
- Create a “survive the dry” kit. Water bottles, throat lozenges and sugarless gum all help combat dry mouth. Keep a stash of these helpful items at work and in your gym bag, along with an extra water bottle.
- It’s ok to ask “what’s for dinner?” Don’t be shy about asking what type of food will be served at an event or function. Chances are you aren’t the only one to ask! If the event is at a restaurant, look at the menu online ahead of time or call the restaurant directly. If you are having dinner at someone’s home, offer to bring a dish that you know you can eat.
- Stay in the shade. Sunlight and bright indoor lighting can irritate dry eyes. Try wearing wrap-around dark sunglasses or a baseball cap when you are outdoors.
- Take a break. Staring at your computer or TV for too long can cause eye strain, especially for those with dry eyes. Get up, take a walk, talk to a friend or co-worker for a few minutes and give your eyes a break.
- Moisture is important inside and out. Keep a small humidifier in your home or office to increase the amount of moisture in the air and ease dryness.
- Trust your instincts. If you wake up feeling a little sluggish, maybe today’s not the day to go for a 10-mile run. If fatigue starts to set in, save those chores for tomorrow and rest.
- Keep moving. As long as you are not experiencing a bout of fatigue, keep moving. Staying fit and active is one of the best ways to ward off fatigue. Even finding 20 minutes a day to take a brisk walk can help refresh your mind, body and spirit!
- Keep your healthcare team “in the know”. Keep all of your doctors (e.g., your dentist, rheumatologist, and eye doctor) updated about all of your symptoms! Your doctors can only help you manage the symptoms they know about. Try telling your primary care physician about your dental issues – it may be smarter than you think!
The most important tip that all Sjögren’s patients agree on is listen to your body. Only you know how much your symptoms affect you and impact your daily activities. If you have been diagnosed with Sjögren’s syndrome, it is important to periodically assess the severity and/or frequency of your
symptoms and their impact on your daily activities. Click here to learn more about assessing your