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What Causes High Cholesterol In A Child

How Is Pediatric High Cholesterol Diagnosed

Hyperlipidemia (High Cholesterol) at Cook Children’s

Lipid screening in children ages 9-11 and 17-21 years helps diagnose high cholesterol. In some cases, two additional fasting lipid tests will be taken two weeks to three months apart.

Your childs doctor will ask about family history and dietary habits. The doctor may order blood tests to rule out various conditions that can cause high cholesterol. If there is a family history of high cholesterol, genetic testing can determine if your child has inherited familial hypercholesterolemia.

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

High Cholesterol In Children And Teens: Causes Symptoms Diagnosis And Treatment

Watching a child or a teens diet can be very tricky nowadays. Children will typically eat anything that has tons of sugar in it if not under your watchful eye, then perhaps at school or a friend’s house. Teenagers are also picky about what they eat, and sometimes too moody to even eat at all.

However, it is still a parents responsibility to make sure that their child is eating healthy, because otherwise, a number of health problems may occur, both in the shorter and longer term. And cholesterol is just one of those problems.

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How Is High Cholesterol In Children Diagnosed

Healthcare professionals can check cholesterol in school-age children with a simple blood test. Conducting such a test is especially important if there is a strong family history of heart disease or if a parent of the child has high cholesterol. The blood test results will reveal whether a child’s cholesterol is too high.

  • Medical treatment of elevated LDL if the value is greater than 190 mg/dL in patients with no risk factors for cardiovascular disease and if diet modification has been unsuccessful.
  • Medical treatment for patients with an LDL greater than 160 mg/dL who have a family history of an early onset of cardiovascular disease or other risk factors, including obesity, hypertension, or cigarette smoking.
  • Medical treatment for patients with an LDL greater than 130 mg/dL who have diabetes.

What Causes High Cholesterol In Children

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There is no single cause of high cholesterol in children and teens, and it is often due to a combination of different factors, such as :

  • Genetics: Familial hypercholesterolemia or FH is a genetic disorder in which the body recycles LDL cholesterol instead of removing it from the body. As a result, the LDL levels in the blood elevate . The disorder affects one in 500 children. A child inheriting the gene from both parents is at higher risk of developing cardiovascular diseases .
  • Dietary habits: Children and teens consuming processed foods rich in saturated fat and deep-fried foods high in trans fats are at a higher risk of developing high cholesterol levels. A few examples of such foods include commercially baked cookies, cakes, crackers, and buns. Foods naturally high in cholesterol and low in fiber, such as red meat and full-fat dairy, could also increase cholesterol levels .
  • Sedentary lifestyle: According to the CDC, children between the ages of eight and ten and 11 and 14 spend six hours and nine hours of screen time each day, respectively. Screen time includes playing video games and watching TV . Excess screen time leads to a sedentary lifestyle, which can increase the risk of weight gain, which in turn could increase the chances of having high cholesterol .
  • Apart from these, certain medications can also cause high cholesterol levels in children.

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    What Are The Types Of Cholesterol

    Cholesterol in the blood doesn’t move through the body on its own. It combines with proteins to travel through the bloodstream. Cholesterol and protein traveling together are called lipoproteins .

    Low-density lipoprotein and high-density lipoprotein are the lipoproteines that most of us have heard about.

    Low-density lipoproteins, or “bad cholesterol,” can build up on the walls of the arteries. Cholesterol and other substances in the blood form plaque. Plaque buildup can make blood vessels become stiffer, narrower, or blocked. Plaque makes it easier for blood clots to form. A blood clot can block a narrowed artery and cause a heart attack or stroke.

    Atherosclerosis , or hardening of the arteries, also leads to decreased blood flow to vital organs, including the brain, intestines, and kidneys.

    High-density lipoproteins, or “good cholesterol,” carry cholesterol away from the arteries and back to the liver. In the liver, cholesterol is broken down and removed from the body.

    High levels of LDL and low levels of HDL increase a person’s risk of heart disease.

    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

    • 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 Treated

    If your child has an LDL cholesterol level of 130 mg/dL or higher, your doctor will talk to you about lifestyle changes or refer you to a dietitian. The goals are to:

    • reduce fat and cholesterol in the diet
    • increase exercise
    • lose weight, if needed

    Your doctor will probably do a cholesterol check again after 36 months of lifestyle changes.

    Medicine might be considered for kids 10 and older whose LDL cholesterol is 190 mg/dL or higher if changes in diet and exercise haven’t worked. Kids with risk factors, such as diabetes or high blood pressure or a family history of high cholesterol or heart disease, may need treatment at lower LDL levels.

    High Cholesterol In The United States

    What causes high cholesterol?
    • In 20152016, more than 12% of adults age 20 and older had total cholesterol higher than 240 mg/dL, and more than 18% had high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels less than 40 mg/dL.1
    • Slightly more than half of the U.S. adults who could benefit from cholesterol medicine are currently taking it.2
    • 93 million U.S. adults age 20 or older have total cholesterol levels higher than 200 mg/dL. Nearly 29 million adult Americans have total cholesterol levels higher than 240 mg/dL.3
    • 7% of U.S. children and adolescents ages 6 to 19 have high total cholesterol.3
    • High cholesterol has no symptoms, so many people dont know that their cholesterol is too high. A simple blood test can check cholesterol levels.
    • Having high blood cholesterol raises the risk for heart disease, the leading cause of death, and for stroke, the fifth leading cause of death.

    How to prevent and treat high cholesterol.

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    High Cholesterol In Children: Causes Treatment And More

    People often view high cholesterol as a condition that only affects adults. However, high cholesterol levels can also cause problems in children, including heart disease and even stroke.

    Cholesterol is a fatty substance that comes from a persons liver. It is also present in certain food products. The body uses cholesterol in the production of cells, vitamins, and hormones.

    However, high levels of cholesterol can cause issues for people of all ages.

    There are two main forms of cholesterol. The first, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol which doctors refer to as bad cholesterol, can build up on artery walls, which may cause blockages.

    The other primary type, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, which is called good cholesterol, helps carry LDL cholesterol away from the arteries.

    It is important that all individuals ensure they have healthy cholesterol levels. This article explores what leads to high cholesterol in children, its symptoms, and the treatment options.

    as young as 2 years with high cholesterol risk factors should have their cholesterol levels tested. These risk factors include:

    • a family history of early heart disease, which is 55 years or younger for males and 65 years or younger for females
    • having a parent with high cholesterol

    Additionally, the NHLBI recommends that a child have their cholesterol levels tested between the ages of 911 years. They should then undergo a cholesterol screening every 5 years or sooner, depending on certain risk factors.

    Low Cholesterol Diet In Children

    The American Academy of Pediatrics-recommended diet for the high-risk group is similar to that recommended for the population but restricts saturated fat to 7% of total calories and dietary cholesterol to 200 mg/day. Research in children as young as 7 months of age have demonstrated that these dietary recommendations are safe and do not interfere with normal growth, development, and sexual maturation

    The success of this diet depends on a number of factors, including the saturated-fat intake before changes are implemented. Because dyslipidemia is often a familial problem, some children will already be on a diet relatively low in saturated fat. For these children with a genetic cause of dyslipidemia and LDL concentration of 190 mg/dL, it is unlikely that diet alone will achieve appropriate concentrations of LDL. Nevertheless, it is important to implement dietary changes that are associated with reduction of LDL concentrations, which may allow for use of lower doses of pharmacologic agents when they are started. Dietary changes are still an important part of any long-term intervention.

    Dietitians can also help children and their families navigate the food environment outside the house, which has become increasingly important because more children do more eating outside the home environment.

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    How Can I Lower My Cholesterol Level

    The first step in reducing your cholesterol is to maintain a healthy, balanced diet. Its important to keep your diet low in fatty food.

    You can swap food containing saturated fat for fruit, vegetables and wholegrain cereals. This will also help prevent high cholesterol returning.

    Other lifestyle changes, such as taking regular exercise and giving up smoking, can also make a big difference in helping to lower your cholesterol.

    If these measures dont reduce your cholesterol and you continue to have a high risk of developing heart disease, your GP may prescribe a cholesterol-lowering medication, such as statins.

    Your GP will take into account the risk of any side effects from statins. The benefit of lowering your cholesterol must outweigh any risks.

    Causes Of High Cholesterol Blood Levels In The Body

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    The body gets its cholesterol from two sources:

    • The liver produces 80 percent of the body requirement. In hypercholesterolemia due to hereditary causes, the liver produces more of cholesterol,
    • The balance 20 percent comes from the foods that you eat.

    High levels are, therefore, caused either by overproduction by the liver or excess consumption from the high-fat foods that you eat.

    Besides these, there are other nondietary causes and risk factors why you can get abnormal levels. They are explained here:

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    Ldl Cholesterol Or Bad Cholesterol

    Low-density lipoprotein is often called bad cholesterol. It carries cholesterol to your arteries. If your levels of LDL cholesterol are too high, it can build up on the walls of your arteries.

    The buildup is also known as cholesterol plaque. This plaque can narrow your arteries, limit your blood flow, and raise your risk of blood clots. If a blood clot blocks an artery in your heart or brain, it can cause a heart attack or stroke.

    According to the

    What Is High Cholesterol In A Child

    What is the normal cholesterol level for a child? Hypercholesterolemia in children and adults is defined as total cholesterol above 200 mg/dL. Specifically, LDL or triglycerides above 130 mg/dL or HDL below 40 mg/L are considered abnormal. For children, staying below these levels is considered healthy.

    Is high cholesterol a concern?

    The LDL cholesterol level must be below 100 mg/dL. Levels of 100 to 129 mg/dL are acceptable for people without medical conditions, but may be of more concern for people with heart disease or heart disease risk factors. A reading of 130 to 159 mg/dL is borderline high and 160 to 189 mg/dL is high.

    What does high cholesterol indicate?

    Your body needs cholesterol to build healthy cells, but high levels of cholesterol can increase your risk of heart disease. With high cholesterol, you can develop fatty deposits in your blood vessels. Eventually, these deposits grow, making it difficult for enough blood to flow through your arteries.

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    Why Is High Cholesterol In Children Considered A Problem

    Adults are not the only people affected by high cholesterol. Children also might have high levels of cholesterol, which can result in health concerns when the child gets older. Too much cholesterol leads to a build-up of a material, called plaque, on the walls of the arteries that supply blood to the heart and other organs. Plaque can narrow the arteries and block the blood flow to the heart, causing heart problems. Cholesterol also is related to other health problems including stroke.

    Living With High Cholesterol

    Study: One in five kids have high cholesterol

    If you have high cholesterol, you are twice as likely to develop heart disease. That is why it is important to have your cholesterol levels checked, especially if you have a family history of heart disease. Reducing your LDL bad cholesterol through good diet, exercise, and medicine can make a positive impact on your overall health.

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    A Mom Wants People To Know Kids Can Have Hypercholesterolemia

    When your child looks and acts healthy, its hard to understand how they could have a condition that, without proper treatment, could cause them to have a heart attack or stroke before the age of 50. Maria Gutierrez found herself in this situation when she received a life-changing phone call from Don Wilson, M.D., an endocrinologist and medical director of the REACH Clinic at Cook Childrens to discuss her daughter Kate.

    When Kate was 4 years old, doctors told Maria that Kate was overweight and might be developing thyroid issues. Maria encouraged Kate to be more active and eat healthier. Her daughters change of lifestyle seemed to be the answer and by age 7 Kate was no longer overweight.

    Kate is always very hyper, very active. She eats vegetables! She loves cucumbers, lemons, loves fruits, loves everything, Maria said. Why would doctors call now to suggest blood tests when shes healthy?

    According to the REACH Clinic, ideal total cholesterol levels should be less than 170 mg/dL, or LDL cholesterol levels less than 130 mg/dL. Kates lab work showed her cholesterol levels at 250 mg/dL, and she was diagnosed with hypercholesterolemia.

    Both Kate and Brandon take medicine daily to treat their high cholesterol. Their schedules for lab work vary depending on how well they respond to their medication. Its been two years since their diagnoses.

    High Cholesterol In Children: Risk Causes And Treatment

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    High cholesterol level has not only affected the adult but also found in children in large number.

    In recent years there is a dramatic increase in child obesity, and children becoming overweight at an early age is causing great concern.

    High cholesterol in children has given rise to many health-related problems, especially heart disease when children get older.

    Many experts have examined the associated health problems and long-term implications of children with high cholesterol levels.

    Accumulating clinical evidence clearly concludes that atherosclerosis or the clogging of the arteries begins in childhood.

    It is also reported that children with homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia develop heart disease in the first 10 years of life and frequently die of a heart attack before 20 years.

    Therefore, if a high cholesterol level runs in the family, it is only prudent to have your kids check for high cholesterol levels.

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    How Can I Help Lower My Childs Cholesterol

    The American Academy of Pediatrics currently recommends that children two years and older follow a healthy diet according to the current Dietary Guidelines for Americans. This should include low-fat dairy products. For children 12 months to two years of age who are overweight or obese, or who have a family history of obesity, high cholesterol, or cardiovascular disease, the use of reduced-fat milk is recommended.

    You can help lower your childâs cholesterol levels by encouraging him or her to do the following:

    Select a variety of foods so your child can get all the nutrients he or she needs. Children and adolescents at higher risk for cardiovascular disease with elevated LDL values above their target goals are advised to undergo nutritional counseling and take part in regular physical activity.

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    Statin Medications For High Cholesterol

    Ldl Cholesterol Normal Range : The optimal range of ldl cholesterol for ...

    Statins are a type of drug thats usually prescribed for adults with very high cholesterol levels. However, its important for parents to know what the current research status is as far as giving statins to children and teens is concerned.

    In order to help treat young people who have high cholesterol levels, the American Academy of Pediatrics has made modifications to its guidelines as far as this condition is concerned, allowing doctors to prescribe statins such as simvastatin, rosuvastatin, pravastatin, lovastatin, fluvastatin, and atorvastatin to youngsters.

    Sadly, there are no long-term studies or evidence that could suggest just how the use of statins impacts hormone levels or if taking statins has any impact on the central nervous system. The research that was conducted was only able to reveal what happens to children with inherited high cholesterol leves, while the effects of prescription statin medications on children with high cholesterol should be studied in much more depth.

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