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Can Children Have High Cholesterol

Cholesterol Myths And Facts

Healthy Heart Tip Keep Your Cholesterol in Check

While everything that we have in our body is essential, there are a few things, which should be in moderation. Cholesterol is one such element in the human body. Now, what is the role of cholesterol in the body is the question.

Cholesterol is a fatty substance produced by the liver and is present in every cell of the body. It plays a major role in the functioning of the body, especially for the brain, skin and nerves. It is also called as lipoprotein. However, you might be wondering if it is such an important element in the body, why do we have a range for it, and why is it said that high cholesterol is bad? Well, thats because we have both good and bad cholesterol in the body.

Nonetheless, here we have a few more common myths and their facts about cholesterol you might need to know.

High Cholesterol And Covid

Recent research has shown that individuals with high body mass index , a marker of obesity, and high LDL cholesterolalso known as bad cholesterolare at an increased risk of getting COVID-19, but the causal link between the two is unknown.

COVID-19 research is rapidly evolving, and more is being learned about the connections between high cholesterol levels and COVID-19 risk. Scientists theorize that LDL contributes to vasculopathyor blood vessel abnormalitiesin patients with COVID-19. The virus does so by invading endothelial cells and causing injury, triggering an inflammatory reaction that leads to widespread blood clotting called coagulopathies.

The ECs within atherosclerotic plaques are more vulnerable to an attack from COVID-19 or inflammatory storms, causing a rupture of plaques and a high risk of developing coagulopathy in patients with associated cardiovascular preconditions.

High cholesterol, therefore, is a significant contributor to blood vessel injury that can lead to atherosclerosis.

If you have COVID-19 or high cholesterol, you are at high risk of cardiovascular complications, but when the two are present at the same time, you are at especially high risk of experiencing:

  • Blood clots
  • Stroke

Inheriting Issues With Cholesterol

Familial hypercholesterolemia is an inherited defect in how the body recycles LDL cholesterol. As a result, LDL levels in the blood remain very high in severe cases, levels can reach above 190 milligrams per deciliter of blood.

People with FH are essentially born with high LDL cholesterol. Everyones cholesterol levels tend to rise with age. But those with FH have LDL levels that start high and go even higher over time.

Just like with non-inherited cholesterol issues, this contributes to atherosclerotic plaques, leading to a much higher-than-normal risk of coronary heart disease.;If left untreated, people with FH have 20 times the risk of developing heart disease.

Men with FH get coronary heart disease up to 10 to 20 years earlier. Half of men with untreated FH will have a heart attack or angina before they turn 50. For some it will be as early as their 20s. In women, coronary heart disease appears up to 20 to 30 years earlier. About 30% of untreated women will have a heart attack before they turn 60.

These increased risks are independent of other risk factors, which can make matters worse. The good news: FH is treatable with a combination of lifestyle changes and medications.

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Articles On High Cholesterol

Adults are not the only people affected by high cholesterol. Children also may have high levels of cholesterol, which can cause health problems, especially problems with heart disease, when the child gets older. Too much cholesterol leads to the build-up of plaque on the walls of the arteries, which supply blood to the heart and other organs. Plaque can narrow the arteries and block the blood flow to the heart, causing heart problems and stroke.

Who Is Most At Risk For Fh

Pure hypercholesterolemia: Causes, symptoms, and treatment

Familial hypercholesterolemia can affect anyone whose family carries the genetic mutation. However, its found more frequently in those who are of French Canadian, Ashkenazi Jewish, Lebanese or Afrikaner descent. The biggest problem with FH is that more than 90% of people who have it havent been diagnosed, which means you should pay careful attention to your family history,;

Seth Martin, M.D., M.H.S.,;associate professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and director of the Advanced Lipid Disorders Center.

If people in your family have had heart attacks, needed stents or had bypass surgery earlier in life before age 55 in men and before 65 in women those are signals that theres something causing your family to be at higher risk for heart disease, he explains. It could be familial hypercholesterolemia.

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Pritikin Family Health Camp Data

In recently published;research, UCLA scientists reported on 33 boys and girls who attended the Pritikin Family Health Camp. What made this study unique is that it compared normal-weight kids with obese kids.

The investigation found that the two groups were not all that different: Both lean and obese kids arrived at Pritikin with alarmingly high risk factors for heart disease. In fact, the normal-weight kids had on average higher levels of LDL cholesterol, total cholesterol, and triglycerides than the obese kids.

The good news: Within the two-week Pritikin Family Program, all these risk factors were ameliorated, and in all children, both thin and overweight.1

What Is High Blood Cholesterol

High blood cholesterol, also called hypercholesterolemia, is an unhealthy level of cholesterol in the blood. Having high levels of blood cholesterol can cause your child to have heart problems when he or she gets older. But there are changes you can make in your child’s diet now to lower the blood cholesterol.

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When High Cholesterol Is A Family Affair

An inherited form of high cholesterol familial hypercholesterolemia demands serious action.

Most of us with high cholesterol have the garden-variety type brought on by eating too much cholesterol and saturated fat and too few fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. More than half a million Americans, though, have a more dangerous type. It stems from an inherited error that can send harmful low-density lipoprotein cholesterol into the stratosphere. This often undetected condition, called familial hypercholesterolemia, can cause an early heart attack, stroke, or premature death. Since the name of the disease is a mouthful, we’ll refer to it as FH.

How Is High Cholesterol In Children Treated

Kids and Cholesterol – Akron Children’s Hospital video

The best way to treat cholesterol in children is with a diet and exercise program that involves the entire family. Here are some tips.

  • Eat foods low in total fat, saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol. The amount of total fat a child consumes should be 30% or less of daily total calories. This suggestion does NOT apply to children under the age of 2. Saturated fat should be kept to less than 10% of daily total calories while trans fat should be avoided. For children in the high-risk group, saturated fat should be restricted to 7% of total calories and dietary cholesterol to 200 milligrams a day.
  • Select a variety of foods so your child can get all the nutrients they need.
  • Exercise regularly. Regular aerobic exercise, such as biking, running, walking, and swimming, can help raise HDL levels and lower your child’s risk for cardiovascular disease.

Here are some examples of healthy foods to give your child.

If diet and exercise alone doesn’t improve your child’s cholesterol level, your child may need to take medication such as cholesterol-lowering statin drugs.

A child’s cholesterol level should be retested and monitored after dietary changes are made or medication started as recommended by your child’s health care provider.

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Which Children Need Testing

The;AAP recommends that all children be screened for high cholesterol between ages 9 and 11, and again between ages 17 and 21. Children should be screened regardless of family history, the AAP says. In addition, the AAP and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute;recommend that children at 10 years old who have risk factors such as overweight, obesity, or a family history be tested for type 2 diabetes. This test looks at fasting glucose levels.

Your child’s health care provider;will evaluate your child’s diet, exercise habits, and body mass index and order a cholesterol screening, if needed. If your child has a total cholesterol level of greater than 200 mg/dL, the doctor may do;a full screening, including HDL cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides. If your child has an LDL level of 164 mg/dL or higher,;the doctor;may do a more extensive evaluation.;

What To Do If A Child Has High Cholesterol

If a lipid screening test shows that your childs cholesterol is high, your doctor will recommend what actions to take.

The first line of treatment is through changes in diet and increased physical activity, says Brothers. Children with high cholesterol who are overweight or obese usually respond well to these diet and lifestyle modifications.

If diet and exercise dont work to bring cholesterol levels down, your doctor may recommend treatment with statins, which are drugs to reduce cholesterol. Studies have found statins to be safe and effective for children as young as 8 for certain genetic lipid disorders, says Brothers. But they must be used carefully. Once started, they are a lifetime commitment.

Dr. Brothers has seen the benefits of early detection and treatment. Lifestyle changes to manage high cholesterol in children can do more than reduce the risk of heart disease as adults. Healthy habits started young, like regular exercise and healthy eating, can have lasting benefits for life.

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Questions To Ask Your Doctor

  • Should I have my childs cholesterol level tested?
  • If my childs cholesterol level is high now, will it always be high?
  • How often should my childs cholesterol level be tested?
  • Does my child need to see a specialist?
  • Do you recommend any other diagnostic tests?
  • What are our options for cholesterol treatment?
  • What are the benefits, risks, or side effects of these treatments?

What Are Early Signs Of Fh

Pure hypercholesterolemia: Causes, symptoms, and treatment

When you have FH, early detection of high cholesterol levels is key to getting the treatment that can lower your risk of cardiovascular disease. In addition to family history of early cardiovascular problems, you may also notice lumps forming under your skin.

These fatty deposits are called xanthomas, and are particularly noticeable around tendons in the hands, knees, Achilles tendons and elbows, and under the skin around your eyes. Sometimes an ophthalmologist may spot signs of cholesterol deposits in your eyes as well.

Whether or not you have obvious signs of high cholesterol, you should get checked if heart disease runs in your family. Talk to your family doctor about your concerns; a simple blood test is all it takes to see if your cholesterol levels are in the healthy range. A high cholesterol level at a young age is a particular red flag that you may have FH. If your doctor suspects you have the condition, you can undergo genetic testing to confirm the diagnosis.

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What Causes High Cholesterol

Three major things contribute to high cholesterol levels:

  • diet: eating a diet high in fats, particularly saturated fat and trans fat
  • heredity: having a parent or close family member with high cholesterol
  • obesity: having a poor diet and not exercising
  • People who are physically active, eat healthy foods, don’t have a family history of high cholesterol or heart disease, and aren’t overweight are less likely to have high cholesterol.

    Should My Child Have A Blood Lipid Test

    A lipid screening is a test to look at the levels of the fats in the blood. In the past, doctors felt that children and teens were not at risk for high cholesterol levels. But we now know that children and teens are at risk. This is due to things such as:

    • Being inactive from too much screen time and not enough exercise

    • High-fat or high-sugar diets

    • Obesity

    • Family history of high cholesterol levels

    Children and teens with high cholesterol are at higher risk for heart disease as adults. Keeping blood cholesterol levels in the normal range reduces this risk.

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    How Is High Cholesterol Diagnosed

    All kids should have their cholesterol checked when they’re between 9 and 11 years old and again when they’re between 17 and 21.

    Kids over 2 years old should be tested if they:

    • have a parent or other close relative with a total cholesterol higher than 240 mg/dL
    • have a family history of cardiovascular disease before age 55 in men and age 65 in women
    • have some kinds of medical conditions
    • are overweight or obese
    • have diabetes, high blood pressure, or smoke cigarettes

    Your doctor can order a blood test to check your child’s cholesterol. Your child may have to fast before the test.

    According to the National Cholesterol Education Program guidelines, the ranges of total and LDL cholesterol for kids and teens 218 years old are:


    mg/dL = milligrams per deciliter

    How High Is Too High For Childrens Cholesterol

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    According to the NIH guidelines for lipid blood test results, normal levels for children are:

    • Total cholesterol less than 200
    • HDL cholesterol more than 40
    • Triglycerides less than 130 in children ages 10 to 19
    • Triglycerides less than 100 in children younger than 10

    Heredity can affect children’s cholesterol levels. Some children have inherited high cholesterol, called familial hypercholesterolemia . “In others, the high cholesterol is linked with obesity,” Dr. Mahgerefteh says.

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    A Child Can Be Perfectly Thin And Have Awful Risk Factors

    Explains Dr. Robert Vogel, leading cardiologist and professor of medicine at the University of Maryland, This study found correlates with obesity, but none were very strong, which is to say that a child can be perfectly thin and have awful risk factors.

    Research in the 1990s also found that a healthy weight does not necessarily mean healthy arteries. The large multi-center study based at Louisiana State University Medical Center examined the autopsies of 1,532 young people ages 15 through 34 who died of external causes, principally trauma. While the overweight youth were more likely than their normal-weight peers to have early coronary artery disease, or fatty streaks, the normal-weight youth were hardly immune: 20% had fatty streaks. 4, 5

    Pediatric Hyperlipidemia Causes And Risk Factors

    When high cholesterol or triglycerides build up in the blood, they can block the arteries. This can lead to heart attack, stroke or other problems. Common causes of hyperlipidemia in children include:

    • Genetics: Some inherited conditions affect the way the body processes cholesterol. People with these conditions may have high cholesterol or triglycerides and a higher heart disease risk. Genetic hyperlipidemia is called familial hypercholesterolemia .
    • Diabetes: Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes can lead to high lipid levels.
    • Diet and obesity: Processed foods and foods high in saturated and trans fats may cause high cholesterol levels in children. Hyperlipidemia is also more common in children who have obesity.

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    Misconception: If The Nutrition Facts Label Shows No Cholesterol The Food Is Heart Healthy

    A foods Nutrition Facts label can be helpful for choosing heart-healthy foods, if you know what to look for.

    Many foods marketed as low-cholesterol have high levels of saturated or trans fats, both of which raise blood cholesterol.

    Look for how much saturated fat, trans fat and total calories are in a serving. Ingredients are listed in descending order of use, so choose products where fats and oils are near the end of the ingredients list.

    Learn more about fats.

    High Cholesterol Treatments And Covid

    Pure hypercholesterolemia: Causes, symptoms, and treatment

    If you are already taking cholesterol-lowering drugs like statins, you should continue to do so until advised otherwise by a healthcare professional, even if you are diagnosed as COVID-19 positive.

    If you have been recently diagnosed with high cholesterol levels, your doctor may recommend lowering LDL levels using statins, cholesterol-lowering medications, to lessen the degree of injury to your blood vessels from COVID-19 attack.

    In high-risk patients having severe COVID-19 disease, statin therapy may be initiated to prevent life-threatening cardiovascular complications.

    Of note, some statins may cause severe side effects such as muscle aches and liver damage. If you are experiencing statin-associated muscle symptoms, inform a healthcare professional. Statin therapy may need to be discontinued if skeletal muscle symptoms and elevated liver enzymes persist.

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    What Are The Risks Of High Cholesterol Levels

    Your childs body needs some cholesterol to protect nerves, make cell tissues, and produce certain hormones. But too much cholesterol damages blood vessels. It builds up along blood vessel walls. This forms sticky, fatty deposits called plaque. Studies show that plaque can begin to form in childhood. It is more likely to form when a childs;cholesterol;levels are high.

    High cholesterol levels increase your childs risk of;heart;disease and;stroke;when he or she gets older. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. The risk is higher in people who:

    • Have a family history of heart disease or strokes.
    • Have diabetes.
    • Smoke or are exposed to second-hand smoke.

    What Are The Best Numbers

    For children;and adolescents ages 2;to 19, these are the best results:

    • Fasting total cholesterol: less than 170 mg/dL, optimal; 170 to 199 mg/dL, borderline high

    • Fasting LDL cholesterol: less than 110 mg/dL, acceptable; 110 to 129 mg/dL, borderline; 130 mg/dl;or more, the child should be screened for causes

    • HDL: greater than 45 mg/dL, acceptable; less than 40 mg/dL, high risk

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    Can I Pass Fh To My Kids

    If you inherited FH from one parent, theres a 50% chance youll pass it on to your children. If both of your parents passed the FH trait to you, your children will definitely have FH. Thats why its crucial to get children with a family history tested at an early age and begin cholesterol-reducing treatment for those with FH.

    People with FH are usually not diagnosed until their 30s or 40s or later. Unfortunately, far too few are diagnosed as children. But early treatment can significantly impact a persons lifetime cardiovascular health by lowering their long-term exposure to high cholesterol levels, Martin advises. The treatment keeps their arteries healthier and prevents premature heart attacks and strokes.


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