Blog Post #4: What are the effects of Auto-immune diseases on children of various ages?

What are the effects of auto-immune diseases on children of various ages?

For this round of research, I will be comparing two autoimmune diseases, one rare and one common, that mostly affect adolescence (between the ages of 10 and 19). Research the inner workings of the disease, the medications needed, any current research on the disease/disorder, and interesting facts on the two different diseases/disorders. By doing this I hope that the readers can see the difference between one widely researched and common disease and one uncommon disease. In addition, I hope that this raises awareness of the multiple different types of diseases that exist and how each can affect a child our age. 

The most common autoimmune disease in children is type 1 diabetes,  the chances of having type 1 diabetes are mostly determined by a child’s inherited genes. It is said that type 1 diabetes is primarily caused by genetic components, however, some research does suggest that it is a mix of genetic and external factors such as climate and other nongenic factors (1). 

Type 1 diabetes is the condition where your body is not able to produce the hormone insulin. Insulin is the hormone which resides in your pancreas and is created by your pancreas, and it is used to process glucose sugar, which is found in most carbohydrates we eat in our diet. Insulin is a crucial part of the human body and all children need it to survive. (2) Type 1 diabetes is one of the most common autoimmune diseases in children with 1 in 400 children diagnosed with the disease. (5)

You might be wondering how this is classified as an autoimmune disease, and how it might be different from type 2 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease because the body starts mistaking the cells which create insulin (that are in the pancreas) as harmful cells and starts attacking them, ultimately disrupting the insulin cycle and the hormonal cycle of the body. The difference between type 1 and type 2 is that in type 2 diabetes your body is still creating insulin, however, not enough for the body to recognize the effects. Ultimately, this results in your body overproducing insulin and burning out as an effect, meaning that after a while it won’t be able to produce insulin as efficiently and it will need more of what it cannot produce to function. (3) 

There are no current cures for type 1 diabetes, but the earlier it is diagnosed the best as the condition can be maintained. As I am sure most know, diabetic diagnosed individuals and children have to inject themselves with insulin in order to function, although there are many ways to inject insulin, some include injections, pumps, and insulin pens. (4)

For the uncommon disease, I decided to research a branch of scleroderma called localized/linear scleroderma or morphea. This autoimmune disease is only present in 0.4-2.7 cases per 100,000. (6)  Previously there have only been 25 recorded cases of this disease in children, but more diagnostics have been made in recent years as technological advancements and more research allow for more accurate diagnostics.

Scleroderma is categorized by the hardening and tightening of the skin, often causing large lesions on the skin making it look like oval scars on the area that is affected. Researchers believe that condition is caused by the overproduction of collagen (the main protein found in connective tissue such as the skin) in one spot of the body which causes the hardening of the skin in that area. (8) 

There are no cures for localized scleroderma, and unfortunately, any lesions or visual symptoms that have been caused by the disease will not be irreversible (although cosmetic surgery is available), but medication is available to maintain the symptoms. Such medication includes topical creams which can be applied to the skin, steroid tablets, phototherapy (exposure to artificial light, or controlled sunlight), as well as injectable immunosuppressants. Moreover, it is important to know that in these types of diseases there is a period of “activation” where the attacking of one’s own cell takes place. In other words, you are not constantly being under “attack”, and these periods of activation can last from 6 months to 3 years, whatever lesions or scars you do inherit during these periods are not reversible (unfortunately) but the effects can be slowed down. (7)

Some differences personally found were the amount of information available for each disease. However, it was expected as rare diseases aren’t as well researched due to a lack of subjects. Hence, the fewer patients there are with a disease, the less known the disease is, and the less funding the research gets, unfortunately. (9)

 A common comparison which was already mentioned in the second blog post was the maintenance needed for each disease. Most autoimmune diseases- no matter how rare or how common- don’t have any cure, and can only be maintained. For type 1 diabetes you are to have insulin injected multiple times a day, for localized scleroderma you are to inject immunosuppressants once a week and take multiple steroid tablets a day.


Finally, I would like to do a shoutout to the national library of medicine (  website, because no matter how rare of a disease I researched, there was still enough for me to learn something new and retain the answers I needed for my research!



  1. Lockett, E. (2020, February 5). Is type 1 diabetes genetic? research and more. Healthline. Retrieved April 27, 2022, from 
  2. clinic, mayo. (2022, March 10). Type 1 diabetes in children. Mayo Clinic. Retrieved April 27, 2022, from 
  3.  DiGiacinto, J. (2021, October 5). About insulin: What it is, how it works, and more. Healthline. Retrieved April 27, 2022, from 
  4. Smith-Marsh, D. E. (2019, May 16). Insulin delivery – endocrine web. endocrine web. Retrieved April 27, 2022, from 
  5. healthy children staff. (2019, November 11). Type 1 diabetes: A guide for families. Retrieved April 30, 2022, from 
  6. Victoria P Werth, M. D. (2021, April 3). Morphea. Background, Pathophysiology, Etiology. Retrieved April 30, 2022, from 
  7. George, R., George, A., & Kumar, T. S. (2020, March 9). Update on management of Morphea (Localized Scleroderma) in children. Indian dermatology online journal. Retrieved April 30, 2022, from 
  8. AM, H. (2022, January 27). Scleroderma. Mayo Clinic. Retrieved April 30, 2022, from 
  9. Bhatt, K. (2020, October 30). The importance of research on rare diseases. PLOS SciComm. Retrieved April 30, 2022, from 


3 Replies to “Blog Post #4: What are the effects of Auto-immune diseases on children of various ages?”

  1. Hey Sanam,
    This is such an interesting topic! I have some friends who suffer from autoimmune disease, and it is so amazing to learn more about it and to be able to understand the effects on them. Keep up the amazing work!!!
    – Alexia

  2. Hello Sanam ,
    I really like how you decided to include a rare auto immune diseases as well as a pretty common one , I learned a lot about both as your writing is easy to follow. I look forward to reading your future blog posts !

  3. Hi Sanam,

    Wow I learned so much from this blog post! Your writing was organized, and it was easy to read and understand. One thing I liked was that you also researched and explained the related topics and common questions surrounding your main points. Because of this, I finished reading the post with all my questions answered.

    I look forward to more of your posts!

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