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Sjogren's syndrome and anorexia

Sjogren's syndrome and anorexia

Editor's Note: Dr. Sanjay Gupta answers medical questions submitted by e-mail at 2:30 p.m. ET Saturdays on "Your Health." The questions and answers are available on after the show.

Q: What is Sjogren's syndrome? -- C. Martin in Georgia

A: Sjogren's Syndrome is an autoimmune disease in which the disease-fighting cells attack the glands that produce tears and saliva, resulting in dry mouth and dry eyes. Other symptoms may include dry skin, skin rashes, thyroid problems, joint and muscle pain and pneumonia.

Between 1 million and 4 million Americans suffer from Sjogren's syndrome. More than 90 percent of people affected are women.

The exact cause of the abnormal immune response is unknown. There is no cure for Sjogren's syndrome, but the symptoms can be treated and controlled by decreasing discomfort and reducing the harmful effects of dryness.

Click here to submit medical questions to Dr. Sanjay Gupta, then watch CNN at 2:30 p.m. EDT Saturdays to see if it is answered.

Q: What causes anorexia? -- Rachael in Carrollton

A: Well, Rachael, anorexia nervosa is often characterized by self-starvation, food preoccupation and rituals and compulsive exercising. While the exact cause of anorexia nervosa is not known, social attitudes toward body appearance and family factors are believed to play a role in its development.

Anorexia can be triggered by life transitions, emotional upsets, low self-esteem and the experience of a major loss.

Anorexia usually occurs in adolescence or young adulthood and is more common in women, affecting 1 to 2 percent of females and only .1 to .2 percent of males.

Please consult a health professional if you see signs of anorexia in yourself or a loved one. Untreated, anorexia can be fatal.

"Ask Dr. Gupta" is not intended to address specific questions concerning individual cases. CNN does not directly or indirectly practice medicine or provide medical advice, and nothing contained in the responses of CNN through its correspondents is a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always contact your doctor if you need medical advice or treatment, or have any questions regarding a medical condition.




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