At Children’s Colorado, we treat autoimmune conditions from the most common to the most rare. Autoimmune conditions occur when the immune system attacks the body’s own healthy tissues. These include conditions like juvenile idiopathic arthritis, lupus and more. For conditions requiring ongoing, specialized care, our program also offers several multidisciplinary clinics.
Autoimmune and rheumatology conditions in kids
Below are some of the pediatric rheumatology conditions we treat in our Department of Pediatric Rheumatology.
Juvenile idiopathic arthritis
Arthritis is inflammation of the joints. It can cause symptoms including swelling, stiffness, pain, fever and rash. Juvenile idiopathic arthritis is the most common kind of arthritis in children. This makes it one of the most common reasons to see a pediatric rheumatologist.
It’s important to diagnose juvenile idiopathic arthritis early to help keep the symptoms and complications from getting worse. These can include growth problems, eye inflammation and joint damage. Our pediatric rheumatology team will perform a physical exam and ask about any family history of similar problems. They may also order X-rays and blood tests to help rule out other causes for those symptoms. Treatment typically involves medication and physical therapy.
Systemic lupus erythematosus
Systemic lupus erythematosus is also known as lupus. It causes systemic inflammation, meaning it can affect the whole body, including the skin, joints, kidneys, lungs, heart and brain. It can begin at any age, but it most often begins during adolescence and adulthood, and is more common in females than males. Symptoms in children often include rashes, joint pain, weight loss and fever.
Our rheumatology specialists will assess your child’s symptoms and run blood tests to make a diagnosis. Lupus treatment involves medications such as corticosteroids and immunosuppressants, with the goal of getting it into remission so the symptoms go away.
Vasculitis disorders include granulomatosis with polyangiitis, pediatric microscopic polyangiitis and pediatric Henoch-Schonlein purpura, and involve inflammation of the blood vessels. These disorders can result in organ tissue damage or other complications. Symptoms can appear in the nose, throat, lungs, kidneys or joints.
Our pediatric rheumatologists diagnose vasculitis in children through a physical exam and medical history. We also use imaging, such as X-ray or MRI, and testing of the blood and urine. We may do more testing to determine which parts of your child’s body are being affected, which tells us what to watch during treatment.
Dermatomyositis is an inflammatory disease that causes increasing muscle weakness. It also causes a skin rash, usually seen on the face, knuckles, elbows, knees, chest and back. It is more common in girls and most often begins in children ages 5 to 15.
When our pediatric rheumatologists suspect dermatomyositis, they may confirm the diagnosis through tests, including blood tests, MRI and muscle biopsy. Patients can manage their symptoms through sun protection, medication and physical therapy.
Scleroderma is an autoimmune disease that causes skin and connective tissue to tighten and harden and can happen at any age. Children usually experience localized scleroderma, which means it affects only a few skin and muscle areas. Sometimes, children may develop systemic scleroderma, which can affect the entire body.
Our pediatric rheumatologists diagnose scleroderma based on its symptoms. They may also recommend tests such as blood tests, skin biopsies and MRI. The condition is not curable but it is manageable, so our doctors will work with you to determine the best treatment using medications, skin protection and physical therapy.
Antiphospholipid antibody syndrome
In this condition, the immune system makes antibodies that cause blood clots. Blood clots in the arteries and veins can cause heart attacks, strokes, miscarriages and pulmonary embolism. Antiphospholipid antibody syndrome occurs in children and teens.
Our pediatric rheumatology specialists do blood tests to diagnose the condition and are committed to helping manage your child’s condition and discuss any risks.
Chronic recurrent multifocal osteomyelitis
Chronic recurrent multifocal osteomyelitis causes non-infectious inflammation of the bone resulting in pain and swelling. It is usually seen around the knees, ankles and wrists, and most often begins in children and adolescents ages 8 to 14.
Our pediatric rheumatologists will diagnose this disorder through tests. These may include blood tests, X-rays, bone biopsies and MRI. Treatment options include medication to reduce inflammation, along with physical and occupational therapy.
Didn’t find what you’re looking for?
The Department of Pediatric Rheumatology at Children’s Colorado treats all autoimmune problems in kids, even the very rare ones. If you do not see a condition you are interested in talking with us about listed here, please contact us at 720-777-6132.