3 Important Things to Know about Cholesterol Levels in Children and Adolescents
Let’s examine cholesterol levels in children and adolescents. As an adult, you are probably familiar with the need to have your cholesterol checked. But did you know that the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), recommend that all children between 9 and 11 be screened for high cholesterol?
Here, 5 things to know about cholesterol levels in children
- Risk factors for high cholesterol levels in children: If your family has a history of heart attacks or stroke, consider getting your children tested for high cholesterol after 2 years but no later than 10 years of age. The AAP recommends cholesterol testing for the following groups of children:
•Those whose parents or grandparents have had heart attacks or have been diagnosed with blocked arteries or disease affecting the blood vessels, such as stroke, at age 55 or earlier in men, or 65 or earlier in women;
•Those whose parents or grandparents have total blood cholesterol levels of 240 mg/dL or higher;
•Those whose family health background is not known, such as adopted children, or those who have characteristics associated with heart disease such as high blood pressure, diabetes or obesity.
- Reasons for high cholesterol levels in children: There are many reasons why a child could have high cholesterol, including obesity, diabetes, liver disease, kidney disease or an underactive thyroid. If an initial test does show high cholesterol, your doctor will perform another test in at least 2 weeks to confirm. If the test is still high, your doctor will determine if your child has an underlying health condition.
- Lifelong Health: Recent reports indicate evidence that children with high cholesterol become adults with high cholesterol. It is important to monitor children who may have an increased risk of elevated cholesterol, and address any underlying health conditions.
If you and your family are looking to address high cholesterol levels in children or any other health issues through diet, exercise and other means, consider working with our health coach. Our health coaches can help you identify and address old patterns and habits, and create new pathways for healthy change.
Dr. Karen Leibowitz
Health and Medical Coach