Why Should I Get My Child’s Cholesterol Checked?

When you think of a person with high cholesterol, who do you picture?

Maybe an overweight man in his 50s who loves burgers and good old fashioned Wisconsin cheese? Maybe a woman in her 60s who smokes and doesn’t like to exercise?

How about an athletic 9-year-old who plays three different sports and prefers fruit to fast food?

Sometimes, our preconceived notions about high cholesterol don’t match reality – particularly when it comes to kids who inherit high cholesterol from their family. Did you know it was even possible for seemingly healthy children to have cholesterol so high that they’re actually up to 100 times more likely to have a heart attack or a stroke at a young age?

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Should Kids Have Their Cholesterol Checked?

Three GirlsWhen we think of cholesterol screening, we think in terms of ourselves – not our nine-year-old son or daughter. But new recommendations from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) are suggesting children between the ages of 9 and 11 should have their cholesterol checked, and again between ages 17 and 21, regardless of their risk.

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. But those guidelines may have resulted in some children with high cholesterol going undiagnosed.

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