Tuesday, October 21, 2014

High Cholesterol In Children Should Not Be Ignored!

Being the leading cause of death for men and women, heart disease takes away the lives of about 600,000 Americans every year. According to the Center for Disease Prevention (CDC), the yearly cost of coronary heart disease alone is $108.9 billion, which includes the cost of health care services, medications and lost productivity.

Heart disease would normally strike a person during his or her middle or old age. But several studies, which were presented at American College of Cardiology 63rd Annual Scientific Session & Expo CME held between March 29 and 31, 2014 in Washington, indicated that more and more Americans children and young adults are affected by heart disease. 

One study conducted by researchers from the Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston who looked at the screening records of nearly 13,000 children getting routine physical checkup at the hospital’s clinics for more than 2 years. They found that 41 percent of the obese children had abnormal levels of cholesterol, and more than a third of healthy-weight children also had abnormal levels of cholesterol. These kids, according to researchers, are more likely on the road to developing heart disease as adults since high cholesterol has been known to be a risk factor for heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke.

Kids aged between 9 and 11 are usually too young to take cholesterol-lowering medications, although those kids with very high cholesterol should. Instead, they and their parents should be advised on diet and exercise. Eating more fruits and vegetables, and consuming less fat and sugar can certainly lower cholesterol. Exercise would help, too. Getting kids to start young with healthy lifestyles can help them through life.

While cardiovascular disease in children is rather rare, it is known that atherosclerosis has its beginnings in childhood. Atherosclerosis occurs when arteries are hardening and narrowing. As reported in previous studies, ultrasound examinations of some children as young as 10 have shown that they can have arteries that are already as clogged as some middle-aged peoples'.

Perhaps, the new findings would lend support to recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics that all kids aged between 9 and 11 should get cholesterol screening. Meanwhile, it will also push pediatricians to follow the NHLBI (National Heart Lung and Blood Institute) guidelines more closely, watching out for cholesterol abnormalities even in young children.

In 2011, NHLBI recommended in their new guidelines that even children between the ages of 9 and 11 should undergo cholesterol screening, with a follow-up after they turn 17.

1 comment:

  1. Reducing screen time is an excellent, but less recognized, way to help kids’ hearts. Other studies suggest that screen time can strongly affect our health, since out of it come poor snacking habits, and, of course, sitting for hours at a time.