As parents, we strive to protect our children from any harm that comes our way. We constantly monitor their growth and development and watch for any signs of illness.
However, several diseases in children can be challenging for you to detect. One of these is autoimmune diseases – a group of complex disorders in which the immune system starts attacking the body’s various healthy cells, tissues, and organs.
The first step in recognizing autoimmune diseases in children is to understand the diseases, their impact on children, and their signs.
Let’s talk about some common autoimmune diseases in children, how autoimmune disease affects children, what signs you should watch out for, and where you can go for comprehensive child’s health care in Lutz, FL.
Autoimmune Disease in Children
While autoimmune disorders are commonly associated with adults, as a parent, you need to recognize that these disorders can also affect children, although less frequently.
Some common autoimmune diseases that can affect children include pediatric plaque psoriasis ( a skin disorder that is characterized by red and scaly skin), juvenile idiopathic arthritis or JIA ( a type of arthritis that lasts at least six weeks in children before the age of 16) and pediatric active psoriatic arthritis ( a subtype of juvenile idiopathic arthritis whose symptoms like joint inflammation and skin lesions resembles symptoms of adults with active psoriatic arthritis).
While the exact cause of the autoimmune disease is unknown, they are thought to be caused by genetics and certain environmental factors.
How Does Autoimmune Disease Affect Children?
Autoimmune diseases like JIA can significantly affect a child’s growth and bone development. JIA can also interfere with the normal development of your child’s fine motor skills – skills needed to perform fine tasks like writing, drawing, tying shoelaces, and buttoning clothes – and limit your child’s mobility.
Autoimmune diseases in children, if left undiagnosed and untreated, may raise the risk of other serious diseases like heart disease, diabetes, certain types of cancer, and other neurodegenerative disorders. This is because the chronic inflammation associated with autoimmune disease may make children more vulnerable to other serious illnesses.
Signs of Autoimmune Disease in Children That You Should Watch Out For?
Early recognition and diagnosis of the symptoms of autoimmune disorders are key to successfully managing autoimmune disease.
As a parent and caregiver, be vigilant and watch out for the following signs of autoimmune disorders in children.
- Persistent, unexplained fatigue
- Joint pain, swelling, and stiffness
- Low-grade fever
- Hair loss or brittle hair
- Skin rashes, such as butterfly-shaped rashes across the cheeks
- Digestive issues like abdominal pain, constipation, and diarrhea
- Unexplained weight loss
- Poor growth
- Swollen glands
- Changes in behavior and mood
- General unwell feeling
The aforementioned list of symptoms of autoimmune disease in children is by no means comprehensive. Also, these symptoms are not concrete proof that your child has an autoimmune disease. So, if you notice these symptoms in your child, see a pediatrician. Your child’s pediatrician can do a thorough evaluation to determine if your child’s symptoms are due to an autoimmune disease or some developmental disorder.
Pediatrician in Lutz, FL
At Children’s Medical Center, we have child-friendly and compassionate pediatricians dedicated to delivering all the services that are important for the overall health and well-being of your child. Our pediatricians assess children’s early developmental milestones and pinpoint certain health issues like autoimmune disease and autism early.