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Childhood Lupus

Impact of Lupus in Children and Teens

Lupus tends to be more aggressive and severe in children and teens than in adults. The symptoms are more intense, and the disease can have long-term effects on a child’s growth, quality of life, and even how long they live.

Children with lupus also may have more pervasive and life-threatening organ involvement compared to adults with lupus.  We estimate at least 6,000 US children and adolescents are currently living with the disease which has few treatment options and no cure.


of people with lupus are diagnosed as children or teens

2 in 3

children or teens with lupus will develop kidney disease (lupus nephritis)

Impact of Lupus Kidney Disease during Childhood

Lupus kidney disease is a serious health issue that can cause permanent damage — it can even be fatal. Children with this complication usually need intensive treatment and lifelong monitoring and care.

In the U.S., the cost of treatment for children with lupus kidney disease each year is more than $350 million.

We recognized these challenges and in 2006 established the first and only national childhood lupus research program, the Michael Jon Barlin Pediatric Lupus Research Program.

Learn more about Childhood Lupus from the Lupus Foundation of America’s National Resource Center on Lupus.

I was diagnosed in October of 2013. It took doctors about nine months to diagnose me. I had gone to several different doctors and they all thought I was a hypochondriac because I would come in with a laundry list of things wrong with me.
Josie - California, Diagnosed at 15
Read Josie's story