Lupus in Children Causes & Symptoms
The cause of lupus is largely unknown, although there are thought to be genetic factors that contribute to its development.
Flare-ups and symptoms may fluctuate throughout childhood, and then into adulthood, and intensity may vary from mild to very severe.
Common symptoms typical of lupus include:
- Skin rashes, including malar rashes (butterfly-shaped and red, located on the bridge of nose and cheeks), and discoid rashes (raised, red, scaly patches on face, arms, chest, or back)
- Joint stiffness and swelling
- Sensitivity to sunlight
- Hair loss
- Mouth sores or ulcers
- Weight loss or decreased appetite
- Swollen lymph nodes and glands
- Brain fog or confusion
- Raynaud’s disease (where blood vessels in fingers and toes spasm and react severely to cold environments and distress)
Lupus can be difficult to diagnose in children as symptoms are so unpredictable and can vary greatly. It is also challenging to evaluate physical symptoms in the absence of a flare-up.
Your pediatric rheumatologist may order a number of tests in order to arrive at a lupus diagnosis. These tests may include but are not limited to:
- Blood tests to check for certain lupus antibodies, inflammation, and proteins that are known to attack foreign substances in the body
- Urinalysis to assess kidney function
- X-rays to view joints, bones, and organs
Lupus Treatment in Austin & Cedar Park, TX
While there is currently no cure for lupus, there are many treatments available and lifestyle changes to adopt that can ease your child’s symptoms.
Medications that have proven successful are anti-inflammatories to help with pain and swelling as well as immunosuppressive drugs to prevent the body’s immune system from attacking itself.
In everyday life, simple adjustments such as these may help lessen the severity of symptoms and frequency of flare-ups:
- Getting adequate sleep and rest
- Managing stress
- Eating a well-balanced diet
- Exercising regularly
- Applying sunscreen and wearing protective clothing when outside as the sun can exacerbate lupus symptoms