How Do You Know If Your Kid Has Behcet’s?

If you’re familiar with Behcet’s disease and how it’s diagnosed, you might be curious to learn how it’s different for children.

“Children?” you ask.

Yes, children.

They do the strangest things, don't they? Source:
They do the strangest things, don’t they? Source:

Even though most people tend to develop Behcet’s symptoms in their 20s and 30s, it can develop in kids as well.

The course of Behcet’s tends to be more severe the younger you are when you’re diagnosed, and that seems to be the case with children as well.

However, the diagnostic criteria for Behcet’s disease in children is different than it is for adults.

We all know the struggle of trying to get a Behcet’s diagnosis. Doctors like concrete data from blood work and other tests. They want to see it to believe it.

I see you, Behcet's. Source:
I see you, Behcet’s. Source:

And Behcet’s is a sneaky disease.

There’s no one test to prove that you have it, and it usually takes a doctor observing you in the middle of a particularly nasty flare—that or a sympathetic and understanding doctor who will listen to your symptoms and diagnose you correctly.

In 2014, the requirements for a Behcet’s disease diagnosis were updated, giving different symptoms a set value. If your symptoms and their corresponding values were greater than or equal to 4 on a particular scale, then congratulations! You have Behcet’s!

Thanks? Source:
Thanks? Source:

For children, however, the parameters are a little different.

Updated in 2015, the diagnosis list for Behcet’s disease in children contains 6 symptoms:

  • Recurrent oral ulcers
  • Genital ulcers
  • Skin involvement
  • Eye inflammation
  • Neurological symptoms
  • Signs of vasculitis

Each symptom has a value of 1, and if your child has at least 3 of these symptoms, they have pediatric Behcet’s disease.

Now, there are two very important things to remember when it comes to diagnosing Behcet’s:

  1. The symptoms of Behcet’s are similar to many other autoimmune and/or auto-inflammatory diseases. It’s important to rule out other possibilities before you confirm a diagnosis of Behcet’s.
  2. While scientists still aren’t entirely sure why some people get Behcet’s, they do believe there might be some genetic component. Does that mean that, if you have Behcet’s, your kids will? Not necessarily.

Needless to say, while we’re inching our way closer to widely acceptable standards for diagnosing Behcet’s, we still have a long way to go.

Farrah Fontaine

Farrah Fontaine

As a child, Farrah Fontaine always knew she wasn't normal. Part of her family descends from the ancient Silk Road, which made her stand out in the Great White North. That's why she wants to give voice to the voiceless so they know they're not alone.

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