The mechanisms that cause Lupus to develop are harder to find in a child. Lupus has three causes that we know at this point. These include environmental triggers, genetics, and drug reactions. Environmental triggers not only worsen the symptoms, but are thought to cause the onset in a child. Lupus patients are sensitive to antibiotics and antidepressants, extreme stress of any kind, infections, and sunlight. There are also certain viruses and bacteria that may cause an issue, but no one pathogen can be identified.
Genetics plays a big factor for Lupus developing in a child. Lupus may run in families, but not one single Lupus gene has ever been found. Chromosome 6 in the genes is where most mutations occur or are inherited genetically.
If the Lupus is from a drug reaction, it can be reversed. The person is taken off the medicine and the symptoms will dissipate. There are around four hundred drugs that are said to cause this problem.
Some criteria that doctors must go by for diagnosis are the following: Arthritis, ulcers in the mouth, kidney dysfunction, ultra sensitive to sunlight, rash across the nose (butterfly rash), seizures, pleuritis, pericarditis, anemia, and a positive ANA test.
Unfortunately, since the disease is so hard to diagnose, children tend to have it longer before it is found. The problem then becomes which organs have been damaged and how soon can they start therapy for Lupus.
The diagnosis is a scary thing. Get a second opinion if you feel it is necessary. In a child, Lupus can manifest as a rash, kidney problems, and a fever. Some kids may look and feel fine, but after testing have unseen problems. Usually a positive ANA test will confirm the diagnosis, but there are kids with positive ANAs that don't have Lupus as well.
A tell tale sign would be the butterfly rash that occurs. It is also known as a malar rash. It is a red, purplish, scaly rash. It is usually found across the bridge of the nose.
Children with Lupus do quite well. Some that have kidney involvement will need to start on an aggressive treatment. Mild rashes and pain can be easily controlled with medicines and therapy. Always remember Lupus is very unpredictable longterm. Keep your child healthy by following medicine schedules, diet, and keeping all doctor's appointments. With some luck and excellent care, you child won't even know he is sick.
Neonatal Lupus is rare and is acquired through the mother's auto-antibodies. This disease can affect the heart, skin, and blood of a newborn. Usually a rash that doesn't dissipate for up to six months can be a symptom. Neonatal Lupus is not the same as SLE.
Between 6,000 and 10,000 kids in the United States have Lupus. Parents need to learn as much as they possibly can and inform other people in the child's life as well. This includes teachers, friends, and other family members.