7 Signs and Symptoms Parents Need to Look Out for Lupus in Children

Can a child have lupus? The answer is yes. For more information, read the following article- lupus in children.

Some children can have lupus and experience mild, moderate or severe symptoms. Lupus is not a contagious disease. However, children born to mothers with the disease can have 5 to 13 percent chances of getting it. If left untreated, lupus can affect the growth and development of children. In some cases, it can lead to organ damage and failure and become fatal. Understanding the disease can help parents to protect their children and keep them safe.

Lupus in Children: Overview

What is lupus in children?

Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease. It can affect nearly every part of the body, including the skin, joints and internal organs. The most commonly affected internal organs are kidneys, lungs, hearts, brains and blood vessels. Chronic means that symptoms usually persist for a long time or constantly recur.

Normally, the immune system creates antibodies to protect the body from viruses, bacteria, and germs. In lupus, however, the immune system goes wrong. It can’t differentiate between foreign invaders and your own cells. As a result, it produces autoantibodies that attack healthy cells and tissues. This leads to pain, inflammation and damage to the whole body.

What causes lupus in a child?

Lupus has no real known cause. However, experts believe it could be due to a combination of three factors listed below:

Hormones

Women are 9 times more likely to get lupus than men. And, they tend to have more symptoms before menstruation and during pregnancy. Thus, experts believe that high levels of estrogen could be a reason.

Female children can be more at risk for lupus than male ones.
Female children can be more at risk for lupus than male ones.

Genetics

Certain genes can contribute to the development of lupus. That’s why lupus runs in the family. If one of your family members has lupus, you’re more likely to get it, too. Your chance is around 5 to 13 percent. If one twin has lupus, the other will have it about 25 percent of the chance.  

Ethnic groups is 3 times more likely to get lupus than European ones. They could be African, Native American, and Asian people.

Environment

Some environmental factors can contribute to the development of lupus. For instance,

  • Viral infections
  • Sun exposure
  • UV (Ultraviolet) exposure
  • Physical and emotional stress
  • Exhaustion
  • Surgery
  • Certain medications like sulfa drugs, antibiotic drugs

Which children are at risk for lupus?

Children can be at risk for lupus if they:

  • are female
  • are African Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, Native Americans, Asian Americans, and Pacific Islanders
  • have one of parents or a sibling that has lupus
  • have a family member with another autoimmune disease

Lupus has four different types. Neonatal lupus usually affects infants.

Neonatal lupus in children
Neonatal lupus

Read More: Why Is Lupus More Common in Females?

How to Tell if a Child Has Lupus 

1. Rashes

It’s normal for your child to get rashes. However, if he or she has a butterfly-shaped rash across on the cheeks and nose, take them to the doctor. A lupus rash is most commonly red, or itchy and it can get worse when exposed to sunlight or UV rays.

2. Hair loss

Lupus can affect the scalp, causing the hair to thin out slowly and lose. The hair on the eyelashes, eyebrows, beards can also be affected. In most cases, it will regrow with treatment, but sometimes it doesn’t. Often, people with lupus have discoid lesions on the scalp. They can scar your hair follicles and lead to permanent hair loss.

So if you see your child starting to lose some hair abnormally, talk to your doctor.

Read More: 10 Causes of Hair Loss

3. Weight gain

Weight gain or weight loss is a common thing when children are growing. However, if your child is gaining a lot of weight, talk to your doctor. In some cases, lupus can affect the kidneys, leading to swelling in the legs and causing weight gain.

4. Bruising

It is common that active children get excessive bruising or bleeding. However, if your child is often bruised or has bruises that don’t heal, speak to your doctor. Lupus can attack blood vessels, leading to bruising.

5. Fatigue  

Children play all the time and that is why they usually get tired and exhausted when the sun goes down. It’s totally norm. But if your child has constant fatigue, it could be a sign of lupus or another medical condition. So, take him or her to the doctor immediately.

Read More: How to Know Your Chronic Fatigue

6. Memory loss

Your child forgets to put away their toys, forgets to tidy up their rooms, or forgets to clean up after playing. They’re all normal. But, if your child forgets important things like their teacher’s names, it could be a serious condition. Take them to a doctor because lupus could be the culprit.

7. Muscle aches and joint pain

Children rarely have muscle aches or joint pain. However, visit the doctor if your child has recurring aches or pains along with some symptoms, such as:

  • frequent fever,
  • loss of appetite,
  • ulcers in the mouth or nose

Children with lupus can also have problems with internal organs, like the brain or kidneys. The symptoms include:

  • swelling around the feet, and legs
  • dark urine
  • shortness of breath
  • chest pain
Joint pain is one of the most common symptoms of lupus in children
Joint pain is one of the most common symptoms of lupus in children.

Read More: Joint Pain: Is It Rheumatoid Arthritis, or Something Else?

How Do You Treat and Prevent Lupus in Your Child?

Following are some tips to treat and prevent lupus in children.

  1. Watch for abnormal changes in your child’s health
  2. Learn about lupus to support your child
  3. Encourage your child to:
  • Take medications as prescribed
  • Stay active
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Rest and get enough sleep
  • Start an exercise routine

Read More: Foods You Should Avoid if You Have Lupus

LupuFree is one of the most common lupus supplements in the market right now. It can help reduce inflammation and balance the immune system. Many patients have used LupuFree in 2 to 3 months and got relief from aches and pains, headache, fatigue and rash. Consult your doctor if the supplement is good for your child’s condition. 

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