I Have Lupus: Should My Child Be Tested?

To test or not to test? Here are several reasons that research doesn’t support testing of all children born to mothers with lupus.

Approximately 25 % of children who have mothers with lupus will test positive for ANA (antinuclear antibodies). But, most of these 25% NEVER develop lupus. Just imagine the unnecessary lifetime of anxiety that these children and their parents would face if they tested positive-and then never developed lupus.

The opposite can be also be true. If children born to mothers with lupus tested ANA negative, they and their parents might develop a false sense of security about not developing lupus. The fact is, they can become ANA positive at any time in their lives. This could cause them to completely ignore symptoms.

Possibly, the better way to deal with the testing concern is for these children to learn the symptoms of lupus and also learn what the common triggers are. If a child is strongly enough genetically predisposed to the developing lupus, keeping the child in a ‘bubble’ isn’t going to prevent the onset of lupus. But knowing environmental triggers can give new meaning to ‘forwarned is forearmed.’

  • They ought to be urged to avoid unnecessary treatment with antibiotics, particularly those with Sulfa or Penicillin bases (like Bactrim™ or Septra or Penicillins)

  • They should be taught to wear sunscreen, in all seasons.

  • Speaking of sunscreens, they should never use tanning booths and should minimize direct exposure to the sun

  • Their diets should be right in Omega-3 fatty acids

  • After testing that their vitamin D levels aren’t high, they should take daily supplements of this vitamin because of the essential role that Vitamin D plays in immune and bone health, as well as in the cell itself.

  • exposure to ultraviolet light (UVA and UVB)

  • avoidance of certain medications (Drug-induced lupus) like estrogens (in the presence of antiphosphoiipid antibody syndrome), Apresoline, procainamide (often used for irregular heart rhythms), and isoniazid (used often for treatment of tuberculosis

  • cigarette smoking is hard enough on a pregnancy, but for a person with lupus who may have antiphospholipid syndrome, the pregnancy has greater risk.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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