How to Beat the Odds Against: High Cholesterol

Youth doesn't necessarily protect kids from serious conditions and diseases. Find out if your child is at risk and strive for prevention

How to Beat the Odds Against: High CholesterolJust like adults, children can have high levels of cholesterol, upping the risk for heart problems down the road. Too much cholesterol leads to the buildup of plaque which can narrow the arteries and block blood flow to the heart. Having a parent with a history of heart disease and/or high cholesterol as well as obesity are major risk factors in kids. But one in 400 kids will have a condition called familial hypercholesterolemia, when high cholesterol occurs regardless of diet or weight. “Left untreated, it can greatly increase the risk of heart disease in young adults,” adds Dr. Morrison.

what you can do:

  • Make sure your child’s annual physical includes a simple test to check cholesterol levels starting at the age of five if you have a family history of heart disease in male relatives younger than 55 or in female relatives younger than 65.
  • If your child is over the age of 10 and has an extraordinarily high cholesterol level, the use of medication (namely statins) is recommended.
  • If the cause is weight related and the level is not too high, exercise and healthy meal planning are Dr. Morrison’s preferred treatments.

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