Sicca syndrome

Sicca syndrome results in xerophthalmia and xerostomia. (Image from lookfordiagnosis.com)

Throughout this summer, let’s continue to explore medical words since they are a rich source of roots. Sicca syndrome is a condition in which the body exhibits signs and symptoms of extreme dryness because of abnormalities which occur with various glands.

The most common cause of Sicca syndrome is the autoimmune disease called *Sjogren’s (shōgrən) syndrome. Certain drugs, prior radiation therapy to the head, and hepatitis have also caused this syndrome.

Sicca (sikə) comes from the Latin word siccus, meaning dry. However, many symptoms are described by Greek roots. For example, patients can have xerostomia (zirəˈstōmēə) and xerophthalmia (ziˌräfˈthalmēə). The Greek root xero– means dry. The Greek roots stoma and ophthalmo mean mouth and eye respectively. Xerophthalmia  means “dry eyes” and xerostomia means “dry mouth.”

*after H.S.C. Sjögren, Swedish ophthalmologist

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