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What causes dry eyes and dry mouth with thicker saliva?

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Internal Medicine Specialist
Practicing since : 1980
Answered : 1357 Questions
I'm a 33 year old male, slightly overweight but otherwise in fairly good health. I do have a primary care physician I'm seeing next month, but had a basic (probably strange) question. I've always had dry eyes but lately (this winter) felt like I have more mucus/thicker saliva than usual and feel thirstier than usual, though I drink plenty of water, take fish oil supplements (as well as arginine, garlic, and cayenne), exercise, and am trying to get some excess weight off (and slowly succeeding). When exercising, I sweat normally. This is probably a silly concern, but I'm wondering if thick saliva might mean blood is also thicker than it should be, or is there no relation between the two? I have no particular reason to suspect thick blood, but stroke is something I tend to worry about, and I want to make sure thick mucus isn't something that should be alarming in terms of blood viscosity. Thanks!
Posted Tue, 4 Feb 2014 in Blood Disorders
Answered by Dr. Rakesh Karanwal 55 minutes later
Brief Answer: Consult Eye doctor and,if required, Rheumatologist Detailed Answer: Hi Mr. XXXXXXX Thanks for your query. There are two possibilities of your symptoms:- * Dry Eyes Syndrome (DES) : a very common disorder of the normal tear film that results from decreased tear production, excessive tear evaporation, and an abnormality in the production of mucus or lipids normally found in the tear layer, or a combination of these. * Sjogren's Syndrome : an autoimmune disorder (the body immune system stops recognizing its own tissues, and starts destroying them. Both, eyes and Salivary glands, apart from other glands, are affected. This causes dry eyes, reduced production of saliva or thick saliva. Dry eyes can lead to serious complications, particularly damage to the cornea. You therefore need to undergo further evaluation and workup, to pinpoint the exact cause. Depending on the final diagnosis, appropriate/specific treatment will give relief. You can use artificial tears and lubricating eye drops and gels (available over the counter) four times a day, which help provide more moisture and lubrication for the surface of the eyes. The dry mouth can be helped by drinking plenty of fluids, humidifying air, and good dental care to avoid dental decay. The salivary glands can be stimulated to produce saliva by sucking on sugarless lemon drops or chewing gums. Continue taking lot of water and extra fish oil supplements. Consult an eye specialist first. If he rules out DES and suspects Sjogren's Syndrome, then you need to consult a Rheumatologist. Apprise them of my opinion. I am certain that they will agree with my opinion; order required tests, and- based on the reports- will arrive at a certain diagnosis and prescribe suitable treatment as advised. Hope I have addressed to your concerns to your complete satisfaction and you find my response helpful and informative. I will be happy to answer further queries, if any. Fond regards and have a nice day, Col (Dr.) Rakesh Karanwal
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Follow-up: What causes dry eyes and dry mouth with thicker saliva? 47 minutes later
Thank you for your thoughtful reply. Your information is helpful. I do have an eye doctor who diagnosed me with dry eye syndrome (years ago), and I do use eyedrops daily. I may follow up with her again. The Sjogren's information is interesting, and I will bring this up with my physician during my next appointment. One question remains unresolved, and that's if thick blood is a worry if I have thick saliva, or are the two fairly unrelated? Thanks much! XXXXXXX
Answered by Dr. Rakesh Karanwal 37 minutes later
Brief Answer: Both conditions are UNRELATED Detailed Answer: Dear Mr. XXXXXXX 1. DES is NOT associated with thick saliva or thick mucus. But Sjogren's syndrome does. 2. None of the conditions (DES/Sjogren's Syndrome) is either related, or affects blood viscosity. SO, PLEASE RELAX AND QUIT WORRYING ON THIS ACCOUNT. 3. However, if you wish to clear your doubt once for all, get a complete blood count (CBC) done, which will confirm whether you have thick blood or not. Take care, Dr. Rakesh Karanwal
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: What causes dry eyes and dry mouth with thicker saliva? 8 hours later
Thanks very much for the reassurance that I shouldn't worry about blood viscosity! As I mentioned, I have an appointment with my primary in February. I also had a lot of blood work recently done, and will get those results in February as well - I'm not sure if it included a CBC, but I will discuss my dryness symptoms in more detail with my Doctor. In the meantime, I will continue to use artificial tears, a humidifier, and drink plenty of fluids while taking my supplements.
Answered by Dr. Rakesh Karanwal 6 hours later
Brief Answer: My pleasure Detailed Answer: You are most welcome, Mr. XXXXXXX Wish you all the best. Col (Dr.) Rakesh Karanwal
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