JOURNAL ARTICLE
RESEARCH SUPPORT, NON-U.S. GOV'T
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Prevalence and burden of pediatric-onset systemic lupus erythematosus.

Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a chronic, multisystem autoimmune disease with a highly variable clinical course. Pediatric-onset SLE (pSLE) represents 10-20% of all SLE cases, and is associated with higher disease severity, including more-rapid damage accrual, than adult-onset SLE. As in adults, pSLE disease expression varies according to ethnicity, with a milder disease course in white patients. The majority of pSLE patients will have developed damage within 5-10 years of disease onset, most frequently involving the musculoskeletal, ocular, renal and neuropsychiatric systems. Owing to improvements in disease management and recognition over the past 20-30 years, patients now live longer, but as a result have increased disease damage. Premature atherosclerosis and osteoporosis have become increasingly prevalent morbidities in pSLE patients. Early atherosclerosis leads to a considerable rise in cardiovascular and cerebrovascular events, and failure to develop adequate peak bone mass during adolescence-a crucial period of bone accrual-is likely to lead to early osteoporosis and fractures. Patients with pSLE have an incurable, potentially devastating disease that occurs during a vulnerable period of psychosocial development, leading to specific and unique psychosocial stressors. Additional large, long-term follow-up studies in pSLE are needed to better understand the disease prognosis and to facilitate development of tailored treatments.

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