Preventive Cardiology Clinic
Cholesterol Screening in Children
Should Kids Have Their Cholesterol Checked?
When we think of cholesterol screening, we think in terms of ourselves - not our nin-year-old son or daughter. But new recommendations from the American Haert Association suggests children between the ages of 9 and 11 should have their cholesterol checked regardless of risk and again between ages 17 and 21.
Previously, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advised screening children with a family history of early heart disease or high cholesterol, or those children who are obese, have diabetes or high blood pressure. Those guidelines may have resulted in some children with high cholesterol going undiagnosed.
Studies also suggest that half of children with high cholesterol will also have it as adults. And, as we know from our own annual checkups, it's the cholesterol that can cause clogged arteries that lead to heart attacks. While some may be concerned the screening may lead to more children being placed on statins, that may not truly be the case. In some situations, cholesterol-lowering medications like statins may be indicated, but for all children, eating a heart-healthy diet and physical activity are important.
The reason for rechecking cholesterol around age 18 is because children naturally have a temporary drop in cholesterol as they go through puberty. Check again around 18 years old gives a better prediction of what their cholesterol levels will be as adults.
If you have concerns about your child's health, speak with your child's primary care provider. The Pediatrix Preventive Cardiology Clinic can help with the evaluation and management of children who have issues related to their cholesterol and heart-related conditions.
Pediatrix Cardiology of Springfield
4350 S. National Ave, Suite C-100
Springfield, MO 65810