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Q. I have Sjogren's syndrome with shortness of breath and increased heart rate. What should I do?

Answered by
Dr. Amolkumar W Diwan
and medically reviewed by Dr. Vinodhini. J
This is a premium question & answer published on Jan 26, 2020

Hello doctor,

According to my doctor, I have Sjorgen's syndrome. My big issue is that at times I have shortness of breath and it comes and goes. It used to happen not too often years ago, but now it happens every other month. Last year, I had to be hospitalized due to my racing heart which went to the 180 bpm and no one knew the cause of it. My pulmonologist prescribed me Qvar and I take it daily. My symptoms are starting again where I get so tired even to eat while sitting (at rest). What should I do?

Dr. Amolkumar W Diwan

Allergy Specialist Pulmonology (Asthma Doctors)


Welcome to

From your description, it is clear that you have confirmed Sjogren's syndrome. Unfortunately, it is a chronic autoimmune disorder and treatment options are very limited. The treatment is only symptomatic and supportive in the sense that whatever symptoms you have we intend to alleviate those symptoms. But no definitive treatment is effective in the long run.

As you said, you experience shortness of breath on exertion it suggests that your airways and lungs are probably affected by the disease. So it is our first aim to detect up to what extent is the lung involvement by doing various tests. The characteristics of the disease is dryness of various mucous membranes and dryness of airways, which leads to further symptoms like cough, bronchitis or bronchiolitis and bronchial hyperresponsiveness. Pulmonary Hypertension can set in in the long run. So keep watch on it by regular 2D echo test of heart for PAH (pulmonary hypertension). Also, keep watch on various complications of the disease.

Corticosteroids and immunosuppressive treatment have shown some promise but it is not void of side effects. Qvar (Beclomethasone dipropionate) inhaler will alleviate your cough and breathlessness. But it is better if you take Fluticasone plus Formoterol inhaler twice daily along with spacer. Also, taking Levosalbutamol and Ipratropium inhaler for emergency use is also advised. Immunosupressive tablets like Cyclosporine can be taken under your physician observation. Overall total treatment is symptomatic.

I hope this helps.

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