The prevalence of several medical conditions, including cardiovascular, neurological, pulmonary, endocrine, GI, and psychological disorders, is higher in persons with primary Sjögren syndrome (pSS) than in the general population. The consequences of comorbid medical conditions in patients with pSS remain unclear and mortality is not increased, but patients experience a significantly decreased quality of life, with a high degree of fatigue, pain, and depression.
Kang and Lin selected 1974 patients who had a diagnosis of pSS and matched them with 9870 controls who did not. All patients came from the Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Dataset (2006-2007). The investigators selected 19 medical comorbidities for analysis, based on the Elixhauser Comorbidity Index.
Compared with controls, persons with pSS had significantly higher rates of hyperlipidemia, cardiac arrhythmias, headaches, migraines, fibromyalgia, asthma, pulmonary circulation disorders, hypothyroidism, liver disease, peptic ulcers, hepatitis B, deficiency anemia, depression, and psychoses. The incidence of other disorders, including hypertension, congestive heart failure, diabetes mellitus, renal failure, and cancer, was similar in both groups. The findings of this study mirror what is observed in Western-based populations.
The authors noted that of all the comorbidities studied, depression was the most risky for persons with pSS; they advised specialized for these patients.