Pediatric Autoimmune Diseases are an area of pediatrics that is dedicated to the study of autoimmune pathology in children and young people. It consists of a set of multiple diseases that are interrelated and that can involve any organ or system of the human body. In the case of children it can compromise growth and development.
Autoimmune diseases occur when antibodies (proteins produced by the immune system that protect the body from invading agents) attack the body's own tissues. Of the multiplicity of diseases that are involved in this group of pathologies, in children, juvenile idiopathic arthritis stands out. It corresponds to a group of diseases that cause pain of the joints, inflammation and/or swelling of the joints (arthritis), which occurs in the child or adolescent (juvenile) and has no known (idiopathic) cause. However, depending on the age of the child other autoimmune diseases may surge such as systemic lupus erythematosus, Behçet's disease, vasculitis, systemic sclerosis, among others.
Autoimmune diseases in children may involve symptoms which are common in other pediatric pathologies (joint pain, diarrhea, thrush, skin rash, fever) or other pathologies common to children as is the case of infectious diseases, therefore a differential diagnosis is crucial.
Pediatric autoimmune diseases are a challenge as far as reaching a diagnosis is concerned as well as the knowhow involved in treating these diseases. Its multifaceted approach may result in providing additional pediatric support to the child, youth and family.