While cholesterol is often thought of as a problem in adults, it’s important to remember that children can face this health issue too. High cholesterol in children can be dangerous, leading to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease later in life. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to help manage cholesterol levels in your child.
Diagnosing and Testing for High Cholesterol
The first step in managing cholesterol for children is to identify and diagnose any abnormally high levels. This may involve a physical examination along with a standard blood test. The cholesterol test you’ll want to get is a specific measurement of the HDL and LDL (high-density lipoprotein and low-density lipoprotein), as well as triglycerides.
Treating and Preventing High Cholesterol
If your child has elevated levels of cholesterol, the main treatment is usually lifestyle modifications. Examples include eating a healthy diet, with lots of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and increasing activity levels. Weight control is also important, as excess weight can contribute to elevated levels of cholesterol.
Certain medications may also be prescribed to help reduce cholesterol, but only as a last result. This will depend on the individual child’s case, so be sure to speak with your doctor about the unique situation.
Help for High Cholesterol
If your child has been diagnosed with high cholesterol, there are a variety of resources you can use to help. Organizations like the American Heart Association and American Academy of Pediatrics offer information on cholesterol, as well as tips on how to better manage cholesterol levels.
You can also partner with your health care team to ensure success. Working with your doctor, nutritionist, and other specialists can help ensure that your child is getting the best treatment and understanding the importance of ongoing lifestyle modifications.
High cholesterol in children is an important topic to understand. With proper diagnosis, testing, treatment, and preventative measures, you can set your child up for overall better health. Make sure to speak with your health care team if you have any questions or concerns about managing cholesterol in your child.