Children Between The Ages Of 9 And 11 Should Be Screened
Most of us are aware that high cholesterol is a health risk for adults, leading to a build-up of plaque in the arteries and a higher risk of heart disease.
But fewer of us know that the risks from high cholesterol can start in childhood. Even young children may have high cholesterol, explains , Director of the Lipid Heart Clinic at Childrens Hospital of Philadelphia.
Whether caused by genetic factors, poor nutrition or lack of exercise, high cholesterol in children is something to take seriously. Studies suggest that many young and middle-aged adults with heart disease may have had untreated cholesterol problems as children. And the incidence of high cholesterol in children is growing.
The current guidelines recommend that all children have their cholesterol levels checked in a blood test between the ages of 9 and 11, and again when they are between 17 and 19, says Dr. Brothers. Children with special risk factors, including those with a family history of heart problems and children who are overweight, should have their levels tested earlier and more frequently.
Can High Cholesterol Be Prevented Or Avoided
Making healthy food choices and exercising are two ways to reduce your risk of developing high cholesterol.
Eat fewer foods with saturated fats . Choose healthier fats. This includes lean meats, avocados, nuts, and low-fat dairy items. Avoid foods that contain trans fat . Look for foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. These foods include salmon, herring, walnuts, and almonds. Some egg brands contain omega-3.
Exercise can be simple. Go for a walk. Take a yoga class. Ride your bike to work. You could even participate in a team sport. Aim to get 30 minutes of activity every day.
When To Have A Cholesterol Test
The Canadian Cardiovascular Society recommends testing for men and women age 40 and older or who are post-menopausal. Children with a family history of lipid disorders should also be tested. Testing is also recommended for people of any age who have:footnote 1
- Strong risk factors for heart disease, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, smoking, or abdominal obesity.
- A strong family history of premature cardiovascular disease.
- Inflammatory diseases, such as lupus, psoriasis, or rheumatoid arthritis.
- Chronic kidney diseases.
For more information, see Making Lifestyle Changes.
Don’t Miss: Does Tuna Help Lower Cholesterol
What Does It Mean To Have High Hdl Levels
4/5highlevelsdoeshigherHigher HDL levelswithHDL levelslevels higher
Hereof, is it bad to have high HDL levels?
Very high blood levels of HDL cholesterol may actually be bad for you. The research linked it to a higher risk for heart attack, and even death, among patients who already had heart problems or who faced a higher risk of developing heart disease.
One may also ask, how do you treat high HDL cholesterol?
Considering this, what is a good HDL level for a woman?
HDL blood cholesterol levelsOptimal: above 60 mg/dL. Levels above 60 mg/dL are considered especially beneficial and can offset risk factors for heart disease, according to AHA. The higher the level, the healthier it is. Low: less than 50 mg/dL for women less than 40 mg/dL for men.
Is an HDL of 100 good?
HDL is considered good because it takes the bad LDL out of your blood and keeps it from building up in the arteries. The standard recommendation has been to keep HDL levels high and LDL low .
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.
Read Also: Shrimp And Triglycerides
When Should My Cholesterol Levels Be Tested
Your GP may recommend that you have your blood cholesterol levels tested if you:
- have been diagnosed with coronary heart disease, stroke or mini stroke , or peripheral arterial disease
- have a family history of early cardiovascular disease
- have a close family member who has a cholesterol-related condition
- are overweight
Treatment For High Cholesterol
Lifestyle changes are one of the first things your doctor will recommend for managing high cholesterol. All medications can cause side effects, including medications to lower your cholesterol, and many people can successfully lower their cholesterol without them. Your doctor will determine which treatment approach is best for you.
Lifestyle changes that can help lower your cholesterol include:
- Adenosine triphosphate-citrate lyase inhibitors
You May Like: Does Tuna Have Cholesterol
Your Test Results: A Preview
Your test results will show your cholesterol levels in milligrams per deciliter of blood . Your total cholesterol and HDL cholesterol are among numerous factors your doctor can use to predict your lifetime or 10-year risk for a heart attack or stroke. Your doctor will also consider other risk factors, such as age, family history, smoking status, diabetes and high blood pressure.
Lipid profile or lipid panel is a blood test that will give you results for your HDL cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, triglycerides and total blood cholesterol.
What Causes High Cholesterol
Your liver produces cholesterol, but you also get cholesterol from food. Eating too many foods that are high in fat can increase your cholesterol level.
Being overweight and inactive also causes high cholesterol. If you are overweight, you most likely have a higher level of triglycerides. If you never exercise and arent active in general, it can lower your HDL .
You family history also affects your cholesterol level. Research has shown that high cholesterol tends to run in families. If you have an immediate family member who has it, you could have it, too.
Smoking also causes high cholesterol. It lowers your HDL .
Recommended Reading: How Much Cholesterol In A Baked Potato
How Can High/bad Cholesterol Be Prevented In Diabetes
With lifestyle changes and intensive statin therapy, we can significantly affect the rate of cardiovascular disease in people with diabetes. Even with LDL-C levels at borderline high and not greater than 160 mg/dl in most diabetics, these borderline numbers have been shown to significantly affect heart health in people with diabetes.
What Health Problems Can High Cholesterol Cause
If you have large deposits of plaque in your arteries, an area of plaque can rupture . This can cause a blood clot to form on the surface of the plaque. If the clot becomes large enough, it can mostly or completely block blood flow in a coronary artery.
Plaque also can build up in other arteries in your body, including the arteries that bring oxygen-rich blood to your brain and limbs. This can lead to problems such as carotid artery disease, stroke, and peripheral arterial disease.
Also Check: Is Canned Tuna Bad For Cholesterol
Hdl Cholesterol Or Good Cholesterol
HDL cholesterol is sometimes called good cholesterol. It helps return LDL cholesterol to your liver to be removed from your body. This helps prevent cholesterol plaque from building up in your arteries.
When you have healthy levels of HDL cholesterol, it can help lower your risk of blood clots, heart disease, and stroke.
Maintain A Normal Weight
Having a BMI in the overweight or obese range highly correlates with having excess body fat, which in turn can affect how your body processes cholesterol. Excess body fat also slows down the ability to remove LDL cholesterol from the blood, raising your levels and increasing your risk of heart attack and stroke.
You May Like: Does Shrimp Raise Cholesterol Levels
Cholesterol And Pre Diabetes
A dyslipidemia may clue providers in to the need to test a person for pre-diabetes or diabetes due to the connection between the insulin resistance in Type 2 diabetes and dyslipidemia. A patients A1C may show in the pre-diabetes range of 4.8-5.6 percent. This serves to give the person a heads up related to managing their dyslipidemia and pre-diabetes state with diet and exercise. The goal in pre-diabetes is generally to lose 5-7 percent of overall weight, and to obtain 150 minutes of physical activity in a week, along with healthy eating, in order to prevent Type 2 diabetes.
What Else Can You Do
Always ask your provider what your cholesterol numbers are and write them down. Keep track with the log at the MyHealtheVet website: .
Your provider may prescribe medicine to help lower your cholesterol.
Here are some questions to ask your provider:
For more information, please contact your local VA Medical Center or Health Clinic.
Recommended Reading: Snow Crab Legs Cholesterol
Why Is Cholesterol Important To Our Bodies
Every cell in the body needs cholesterol, which helps the cell membranes form the layers. These layers protect the contents of the cell by acting as the gatekeeper to what things can enter or leave the cell. It is made by the liver and is also used by the liver to make bile, which helps you digest foods. Cholesterol is also needed to make certain hormones and to produce vitamin D. Your liver makes enough cholesterol to meet your bodys needs for these important functions.
Food That Lower Cholesterol
While I typically like to talk about using nutrition to modify risk in terms of dietary patterns rather than specific macros or nutrients, it can be a somewhat useful framework when specifically trying to harness the power of diet to lower cholesterol.
Quite simply, fiber is your friend here.
Dietary fiber, particularly soluble fiber, lowers LDL cholesterol likely via multiple pathways including slower gastric emptying and increased satiety, inhibiting cholesterol synthesis in the liver, and increased excretion. Its also great fuel for your friendly gut microbiome. Soluble fiber can be found in psyllium, lentils, oats, nuts, and many beans. Many consider adding flax seed or chia seeds to their diet. Plant stanols and sterols, found in nuts, legumes, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, plant oils, and supplements, are chemically similar to cholesterol and compete for absorption in the small intestine – this can also help lower cholesterol as well. Lastly, increased consumption of black or green tea, nuts, soy products, and polyphenols may also have a role in decreasing cholesterol levels. Read more about the power of certain foods to lower cholesterol here.
Also Check: Is Oyster High In Cholesterol
What Should My Cholesterol Levels Be
Blood cholesterol is measured in units called millimoles per litre of blood, often shortened to mmol/L.
As a general guide, total cholesterol levels should be:
- 5mmol/L or less for healthy adults
- 4mmol/L or less for those at high risk
As a general guide, LDL levels should be:
- 3mmol/L or less for healthy adults
- 2mmol/L or less for those at high risk
An ideal level of HDL is above 1mmol/L. A lower level of HDL can increase your risk of heart disease.
Your ratio of total cholesterol to HDL may also be calculated. This is your total cholesterol level divided by your HDL level. Generally, this ratio should be below four, as a higher ratio increases your risk of heart disease.
Cholesterol is only one risk factor. The level at which specific treatment is required will depend on whether other risk factors, such as smoking and high blood pressure, are also present.
What Happens If You Have High Cholesterol
What does high cholesterol mean?
High cholesterol means there is too much cholesterol in your blood. This can clog up your arteries the large blood vessels that carry blood around your body. Over time, this can lead to serious problems.
How does cholesterol clog up your arteries?
Excess cholesterol can be laid down in the walls of your arteries. Fatty areas known as plaques can form, and these become harder with time, making the arteries stiffer and narrower. This process is called atherosclerosis.
When the arteries become narrower, its harder for blood to flow through them. This puts a strain on your heart because it has to work harder to pump blood around your body. Eventually, the heart can become weak and cant work as well as it should.
Blood clots can form over the fatty, hardened parts of the arteries. The blood clots can block the artery completely, cutting off the blood flow. Bits of the blood clots can break away and become lodged in an artery or vein in another part of the body, which can cause a heart attack or stroke.
You May Like: How Does Cheerios Help Lower Cholesterol
Physical Signs Of High Cholesterol You Should Know About
Cholesterol is a fatty substance which is developed naturally in the body. It performs several vital functions like rebuilding walls surrounding the bodys cells and converting basic materials into certain hormones.
You only need a small amount of cholesterol and almost all of them are produced by your body. Most of the cholesterol in your body is produced in your liver. The rest of them come from your diet. This kind of dietary cholesterol is present in foods such as eggs, meat, and dairy products.
If you have too much cholesterol in your bloodstream, you have high cholesterol. High cholesterol increases your risk of heart disease, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease. For this reason, knowing the cholesterol levels in your blood is quite important to prevent any future heart disease and blockages of blood vessels.
There are two main types of cholesterol you should be aware of:
- high-density lipoprotein , or good cholesterol
In other words, high levels of LDL cholesterol can cause more plaque accumulation and increase the risk of a heart attack, stroke and other diseases. On the other hand, high levels of HDL cholesterol can actually help prevent heart attacks and strokes. HDL gains its good name by removing LDL cholesterol from the arteries and tissues and bringing it back to the liver where the excessive LDL cholesterol is broken down.
Risk Factors for High LDL Cholesterol
Physical Signs of High Cholesterol Levels
1. Sore Hands and Feet
2. Frequent Tingling
How Can A High Ldl Level Raise My Risk Of Coronary Artery Disease And Other Diseases
If you have a high LDL level, this means that you have too much LDL cholesterol in your blood. This extra LDL, along with other substances, forms plaque. The plaque builds up in your arteries this is a condition called atherosclerosis.
Coronary artery disease happens when the plaque buildup is in the arteries of your heart. It causes the arteries to become hardened and narrowed, which slows down or blocks the blood flow to your heart. Since your blood carries oxygen to your heart, this means that your heart may not be able to get enough oxygen. This can cause angina , or if the blood flow is completely blocked, a heart attack.
Recommended Reading: Does Honey Nut Cheerios Really Lower Cholesterol
How Can I Lower My Ldl Level
There are two main ways to lower your LDL cholesterol:
- Therapeutic lifestyle changes . TLC includes three parts:
- Heart-healthy eating. A heart-healthy eating plan limits the amount of saturated and trans fats that you eat. Examples of eating plans that can lower your cholesterol include the Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes diet and the DASH eating plan.
- Weight Management. If you are overweight, losing weight can help lower your LDL cholesterol.
- Physical Activity. Everyone should get regular physical activity .
- Drug Treatment. If lifestyle changes alone do not lower your cholesterol enough, you may also need to take medicines. There are several types of cholesterol-lowering drugs available, including statins. The medicines work in different ways and can have different side effects. Talk to your health care provider about which one is right for you. While you are taking medicines to lower your cholesterol, you still should continue with the lifestyle changes.
Some people with familial hypercholesterolemia may receive a treatment called lipoprotein apheresis. This treatment uses a filtering machine to remove LDL cholesterol from the blood. Then the machine returns the rest of the blood back to the person.
NIH: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
Myth: I Dont Need Statins Or Other Medicines For My Cholesterol I Can Manage My Cholesterol With Diet And Exercise
Fact: Although many people can achieve good cholesterol levels by making healthy food choices and getting enough physical activity, some people may also need medicines called statins to lower their cholesterol levels. Guidelinesexternal icon also suggest that other medicines in addition to statins may be needed to help control cholesterol.2
People who may need statins or other medicines to manage cholesterol levels include the following:
- People with familial hypercholesterolemia or people with very high levels of bad cholesterol. FH is a genetic condition that causes very high LDL cholesterol levels beginning at a young age. If left untreated, cholesterol levels will continue to get worse. This greatly raises the risk for heart disease, heart attack, and stroke at a young age.
- People with cardiovascular disease . People with CVD may already have narrowed arteries because of too much plaque. Medicines that lower cholesterol may help reduce the risk for heart attack or stroke.
- People with diabetes.Type 2 diabetes lowers HDL or good cholesterol levels and raises bad cholesterol levels. This combination raises your risk of heart disease and stroke.
Other groups of people may also need medicines to manage their cholesterol, including people who have a high risk for CVD. Always talk to your health care provider about the best ways to manage your cholesterol.
Also Check: Is Canned Tuna Good For Cholesterol