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Seasonal Talk – Scleroderma & Sjogren Syndrome
28th May 2016

Seasonal Talk – Scleroderma & Sjogren Syndrome was taken part in Seminar Room 1, M/F, Hospital Authority Building, Kowloon on 28th May 2016. The talk aimed to enhance people’s understanding on the diagnosis and treatment of both diseases. There were 103 participants in total.

The talk was started by Dr. MA Kai-yui, a specialist in Rheumatology, to explain what scleroderma was. This was a chronic systematic autoimmune disease which characterized by thickening skin. Raynaud’s phenomenon was a very common early symptom of the disease, nearly 90% of patients might come across this problem. Some organs like lung, digestive system, heart and muscle might also be affected. Dr. MA reminded that patients should not reduce the dosage or even stop taking the prescribed drugs. They were suggested to be more aware of daily care. For example, if digestive system was affected, patients should not lay down immediate after meals to prevent gastroesophageal reflux. Smoking might cause vasoconstriction and further damage the heart. Thus, Dr. MA urged participants to quit smoking. There were various methods to treat and relieve the symptoms while new methods were being tested and studied recently. Patients needed not to be too anxious about their conditions. Dr. MA hoped patients could always stay positive as this would be the best treatment.

Apart from this, the talk was continued by Dr. Julia CHAN, a specialist in Rheumatology, to introduce the basic information of Sjogren syndrome. This was also a chronic autoimmune disease and usually caused inflammation and pathological changes in exocrine glands. It often attacked lacrimal gland and salivary glands and might result in xerophthalmia and xerostomia respectively. The disease might influence other organs such as skin, nasal cavity, respiratory tract and vagina. The cause was still unknown but virus infection, genes and hormones were believed to potential factors that triggered the onset of illness. Sjogren syndrome usually occurred when another connective tissue disease was present. The objective of treatment was to relieve the symptoms. Same as Dr. MA, Dr. CHAN reminded patients to pay more attention on daily care. Lastly, Dr. CHAN quoted her favourite art painting and well-known saying to encourage patients. Getting sick was just a part of life. This did not mean everything. She also hoped patients could face the disease positively wear a smile at any time.

Then, Ms. WONG, the representative of Hong Kong Lupus Association, introduced the association’s objectives and services to all participants. She urged patients to join the group actively so as to develop the spirit of mutual aid.

Most participants were satisfied with the arrangement and content of the talk. They were interested in this rare disorder especially the treatments and hoped to participate to similar activities in the future.

John Doe