Lupus is a disorder of the body’s immune system. It is estimated that about 200,000 babies and 1.5 million across the world have the disorder is unique since it causes the body’s immune system to work turn against the body’s own organs and tissues.
The body’s immune system naturally produces antibodies, special proteins that protect the body against attacks by bacteria and viruses. It happens that immune system of babies and adults with lupus does not recognize its own healthy bacteria and viruses and harmful bacteria and viruses that cause illness and infections. The antibodies produced by the immune system, therefore, attacks all bacteria/viruses and others body cells.
Lupus presents several symptoms. However, different babies can show different symptoms. The disorder generally causes general body fatigue, pain in the joints, hair loss, skin rashes and mouth ulcers.
Severe symptoms include high sensitivity to sunlight, kidney problems characterized by swollen legs, seizures, and psychosis among other symptoms.
Different types of lupus have been identified:
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) – This is common in teenagers and adults although its symptoms can show during childhood. It presents itself in the form of idiopathic arthritis, Lyme disease, and Crohn’s disease.
Skin lupus – This only affects the skin and is usually in the form of rashes on the legs, scalp, and arms.
Drug-induced lupus – This is the type that affects about 10% of babies and adults. It is believed that it is caused by such medications as acne, thyroid, and anti-seizure medications.
The real cause or causes of lupus remain unknown. However, medical experts link occurrence of the disorder to various factors one of which is genetics. It is believed that babies and adults from families with a history of the disorder are always at risk of having the disorder, which can be triggered by an infection or medication.
Lupus has also been established to be common in specific races and in particular in both native and African Americans, Latinos, and Asian Americans. It also happens that baby girls and women are affected more than males.
Lupus has no cure. The only treatment option available is the management of the disorder with the aim of controlling resultant symptoms to make a baby’s or an adult’s life easy. Managing the disorder can involve several medical experts including a rheumatologist who specializes in health conditions that affect connective tissue and joints, a nephrologist who specializes in diseases of the kidney and possibly a dermatologist.
A pediatrician can also prescribe anti-malarial medications because they have proved very effective in the management of skin rashes in lupus cases in addition to preventing the development of coronary diseases. It is also possible for a pediatrician to prescribe immunosuppressive medications for a baby who shows serious symptoms.
Part of managing lupus also involves changes in a baby’s lifestyle. This goes a long way in preventing flare-ups of the disorder. Such changes include limited exposure to sunlight, clothing a baby with protective clothing and using sunscreen creams.