What kinds of symptoms are common in children with lupus?

There are many symptoms of lupus, some invisible and some very visible. These symptoms can be of great concern to your child, especially those that cause a change in appearance, such as hair loss, a bloated look in the face and neck, skin rashes or lesions (sores), weight gain, and easy bruising. These effects may be caused by lupus or by the medications used to treat the disease. Some of these will diminish or go away entirely when lupus symptoms are controlled by the medication, and also as the dosages of medications are lowered and discontinued. When present, though, these visible symptoms of lupus can be very upsetting to your child.

Symptoms that are invisible -- muscle aches, joint pain, severe fatigue, chest pain, memory loss, and difficulty processing information -- can also be difficult to deal with. There may be times when people ask you or your child questions about why such a healthy-looking young person walks with a cane or does not participate in a school activity or needs a home tutor. Be patient as you help your child learn to cope both with these effects of the disease, and other people’s reactions and attitudes.

Medically reviewed on August 16, 2013

This article was published by the Lupus Foundation of America Office.