New Study Examines Lung Function in Children with Lupus
Lupus can affect the lungs in many ways and lead to potential complications and increased risk of death. Pulmonary (lung) function tests (PFTs) are capable of identifying abnormalities that may develop into impairments later in life, even in people who are not currently experiencing respiratory symptoms. In a new study, researchers examined PFTs in people with childhood-onset lupus to describe the most common abnormalities that can impact lung function.
Researchers reviewed records of 42 children with lupus over a five-year period. 90% of the children were female and 23.8% (both male and female) had abnormal PFTs. In this study, the most common pulmonary function abnormality was low diffusing capacity, a measure of how well oxygen and carbon dioxide are transferred between the lungs and the blood, which is often associated with autoimmune diseases. Additionally, lung volume analysis found restrictive lung disease, a decrease in the amount of air that the lungs can hold, to be a common abnormality. Both abnormalities can make it harder to breathe and can cause inflammation to the lung tissue.
Children with lupus may have widespread and life-threatening organ involvement compared to adults with lupus. However, further research with more participants and longer-term follow-up are needed to fully understand disease progression for those diagnosed with childhood-onset lupus. Learn more about childhood lupus.
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