When you think of someone with high cholesterol, who do you envision? Probably an older adult. Unfortunately, with the surge of obesity in this country, another growing population of individuals are being diagnosed with high cholesterol -- children. Many factors could contribute to this, including living a sedentary lifestyle, having a poor diet, and having a parent with high cholesterol. By addressing these issues, you can help keep your child's heart healthy.
High cholesterol doesn't occur in every child, but it could have bad consequences later on if it is not properly addressed. It can build up on the walls of arteries as early as childhood, eventually leading to heart disease if it is not treated. Fortunately, high cholesterol is a treatable condition either through lifestyle changes, medication, or both. If your child is at very high risk and has high-cholesterol levels, addressing these issues now can help prevent many complications in adulthood.
Although it isn't seen as often as in adults, high cholesterol can happen in children, too -- especially if they are at high risk. Do you have a family history of having high cholesterol at an early age? Does your child opt for video games and high fat snack foods over playing outside and eating healthy, balanced meals? If so, you may need to talk to your child's pediatrician about your concerns. While high cholesterol is treatable, knowing your child's risk for high cholesterol may prevent him from having heart disease down the road.
If you're over the age of 18, you've probably had your cholesterol checked before. In fact, you're supposed to have your cholesterol checked at least every two years after you turn 18. But should your children have their cholesterol checked, too? With the disturbing trend of obesity lurking in younger generations, some healthcare professionals are urging that children should have their cholesterol checked, too. However, not all children need to have their cholesterol checked. Knowing your child's risks for high cholesterol, and talking to your child's pediatrician, can determine whether or not your child needs to be tested for high cholesterol.
High cholesterol can happen in children, too. But do they need to be placed on cholesterol medications for it? This issue is highly debated, and may depend upon your child's cholesterol levels and other risk factors he may have such as diabetes, obesity or inherited condition. The good news is that, in some cases, high cholesterol in children can be lowered without medication through making some changes in their lifestyle. If your child needs to take medication to lower his cholesterol, drugs are available for him.
While high cholesterol can lead to heart disease down the road in your child, it is also probably the most preventable risk factor for heart disease. Lifestyle modification such as diet and exercise can play an important role in lowering your child's cholesterol. Changing certain aspects of your child's lifestyle such as obesity, lack of exercise, eating junk food, and not controlling conditions like diabetes can make a big impact on your child's health including cholesterol and heart disease.