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Childhood Lupus

Thousands of children and teens in the U.S. are living with lupus. In children, lupus tends to be more aggressive and severe than it is 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.

Lupus in Children
stethoscope
10-20%

of people with lupus are diagnosed as children or teens

health
2 in 3

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

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. This program supports discoveries in childhood lupus research for:

  • Lupus kidney disease
  • Neurological or psychological conditions that develop in people with lupus (referred to as neuropsychiatric lupus)
  • Health-related quality of life
  • Development of drugs to specifically for children with lupus
Josie - California
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