Since lupus can cause problems anywhere in the body, your child may need to see different types of pediatricians (doctors who provide care to children from birth to young adulthood) and health care professionals for treatment. The treatment team will work with you to decide the right course of care for your child.
Most children with lupus will see a pediatric rheumatologist. Pediatric rheumatologists specialize in diagnosing and treating children with autoimmune diseases, like lupus, and diseases in the joints, muscles, bones, and tendons. The rheumatologist typically provides comprehensive care to your child, acting as their “medical home.”
A pediatric rheumatologist is the type of doctor who treats children with lupus.
Lupus often attacks the kidneys, so children with lupus may also have a pediatric nephrologist on their treatment team. Pediatric nephrologists are doctors who specialize in evaluating and treating children with lupus nephritis (inflammation of the kidneys).
2 in 3 children with lupus will have kidney problems and will need a nephrologist on their treatment team.
Additional Pediatric Specialists
Your child may need to see other types of pediatric specialists for help managing (controlling) symptoms and organ damage:
- Pediatric cardiologist — for problems with the heart and blood vessels
- Pediatric dermatologist — for problems with the skin, like cutaneous lupus
- Pediatric endocrinologist — for problems with hormones, like estrogen
- Pediatric gastroenterologist — for problems with the stomach, intestines, and liver, and nutritional concerns
- Pediatric neurologist — for problems with the brain, spine, and nervous system
- Pediatric ophthalmologist — for problems with the eyes Pediatric pulmonologist — for problems with the lungs
Children with lupus typically see 2 or more doctors.
Additional Health Care Professionals
Your child will also see other types of essential doctors and health care professionals for routine health screenings and wellness check-ups:
- Primary care doctor — for overall health and wellness
- Nurse — for health services and care coordination
- Dentist — for oral health
- Gynecologist or urologist — for reproductive health
- Optometrist or optician — for vision and eye care
- Pharmacist — for prescriptions
- Psychiatrist or psychologist — for mental health
- Rehabilitation specialist — for physical, occupational, or art therapy
- Social worker or care coordinator — for help navigating health care systems and coordinating services
Many different types of doctors and health care professionals — including nurses, pediatric specialists, therapists, and primary care doctors — may play a role in your child’s care.
Managing your child’s care can feel overwhelming at times. But it’s important to remember that treating lupus is a team effort. So be sure to check in with your child’s team often, ask questions, and keep everyone on the team informed of what’s going on with your child’s care.
Find a Pediatrician
If you’re looking for a pediatric rheumatologist or other type of pediatrician, try the “Find a Pediatrician” tool from the American Academy of Pediatrics.