Autoimmune diseases like Sjögren’s syndrome can be difficult to diagnose. There’s no single standardized blood test, and you’ll likely need several tests by different doctors.
Sjögren’s syndrome is a chronic autoimmune disorder that focuses its attack on the glands that produce moisture for your eyes, mouth, and other areas of the body.
Like many autoimmune disorders, there’s no single test that can completely diagnose or rule out Sjögren’s syndrome.
In this article, you’ll learn how Sjögren’s syndrome is diagnosed, the symptoms that can inform that diagnosis, and how healthcare professionals may use certain diagnostic blood tests in their evaluation.
There’s no single blood test that can diagnose Sjögren’s syndrome.
Sjögren’s syndrome is an autoimmune disorder, which means that for some reason your body is programmed to attack its own tissues.
It can be difficult to diagnose, and some of the symptoms you experience may lead up to a diagnosis.
But about half of all people with Sjögren’s disease have at least one other autoimmune condition that could appear with symptoms similar to a Sjögren’s diagnosis, including celiac disease and autoimmune thyroid disease.
Testing for any of these conditions may not necessarily confirm or rule out various autoimmune conditions, but some blood and serum tests that can help zero in on a Sjögren’s diagnosis include:
- anti SS-A and SS-B antibody testing
- rheumatoid factor testing
- antinuclear antibody testing (ANA)
- blood coagulation tests
Typically, a diagnosis is made by a group of doctors, including a rheumatologist, ophthalmologist, and other specialties. They’ll ask questions about your personal and family medical history, as well as your symptoms and overall quality of life.
While the blood tests above may indicate a possible diagnosis of Sjögren’s syndrome, these tests may also be positive for diseases like lupus or rheumatoid arthritis. Additional tests that can help narrow a diagnosis to Sjögren’s include:
- a biopsy of the salivary glands
- dry eye tests (Schirmer’s test)
Sjögren’s can be diagnosed at any age, but the American College of Rheumatology says it’s most common in women in their 40s or 50s.
Autoimmune diseases like Sjögren’s syndrome can be difficult to diagnose and treat.
There’s no single, standardized blood test used to diagnose this syndrome. It will likely take a number of tests over a period of time from several doctors or specialists to get an accurate diagnosis.
If you have other autoimmune diseases and experience symptoms that align with Sjögren’s syndrome, talk with your healthcare team about ruling out this or other conditions.