A systemic disease is one that affects the whole body as opposed to a part of the body or one organ. Diabetes and lupus are examples of systemic diseases that can cause kidney disease.


Although diabetes is the leading cause of kidney disease in adults, it is not a common cause of kidney disease in children. Both type 1 and type 2 diabetes can happen in children.

Over time, uncontrolled diabetes can lead to kidney disease. When a person has diabetes, their body has trouble making or using insulin. Insulin regulates the body’s blood sugar, keeping it at a healthy level. If diabetes is not kept under control, too much sugar builds up in the blood, causing damage to the kidneys’ tiny filters. Learn more about diabetes here.

The signs and symptoms of diabetes are similar for type 1 and type 2. Talk to your child’s pediatrician if you notice any of the symptoms of diabetes.

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Lupus is an autoimmune disease that causes the immune system to attack healthy cells in the body leading to pain, inflammation (swelling), and damage to all parts of the body including the kidneys.

Childhood lupus is referred to as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). According to the Arthritis Foundation, SLE affects 5,000 to 10,000 children in the United States. For all age groups, lupus happens more often in girls than in boys. The signs and symptoms of lupus can begin in childhood or later in life. Learn more about lupus nephritis.

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