If you have a family history of high cholesterol, high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, strokes or heart attacks, your child has an increased risk of hypercholesterolemia. High blood pressure, obesity, and/or diabetes further increase your child’s risk of health problems, which could limit their quality of life. At Children’s Cardiology Group in Orange and Mission Viejo, California, the team of board-certified pediatric cardiologists provide testing and treatment for hypercholesterolemia, hypertension, and obesity. If you’re concerned about your child’s heart health or if a routine screening revealed elevated cholesterol levels, call Children’s Cardiology Group or schedule a consultation today.
Hypercholesterolemia is the clinical term for high cholesterol. While you might think of high cholesterol as an adult health problem, children can also develop this potentially dangerous condition.
Your body makes two types of cholesterol: High-density lipoprotein (HDL) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL). LDL cholesterol travels through your bloodstream depositing itself so your body can use it to make hormones and vitamin D. HDL cholesterol also travels through your blood, but it collects the extra LDL cholesterol and takes it back to your liver.
High cholesterol develops when you either have too much LDL cholesterol or you don’t have enough HDL cholesterol to clean your blood vessels effectively. As a result, the excess LDL remains in your blood vessels and creates a buildup of plaque that can eventually narrow or block the blood vessel, which can lead to severe cardiovascular health problems.
The same issues that contribute to hypercholesterolemia in adults also affect children. If you have a family history of elevated cholesterol levels, especially at a young age, your child has a higher risk of also developing the condition. Additionally, if your child is obese, has a poor diet, and doesn’t get much physical activity, these issues can also contribute to their chances of high cholesterol.
All children should have a cholesterol screening between the ages of 9-11 and then again at 17-21. If you have a strong family history of hypercholesterolemia, your pediatrician might recommend more frequent screening. The test is part of a standard blood panel.
The team of board-certified pediatric cardiologists at Children’s Cardiology Group provides comprehensive customized treatment plans to help lower your child’s cholesterol levels.
For example, your doctor might recommend changing your child’s diet, including cutting back on high-fat products, sugary drinks, and other nutritionally deficient foods. They might also suggest that your child get more physical activity. This could be as simple as taking a family walk after dinner, but you can also help your child find a sport or activity they enjoy.
If lifestyle changes don’t lower your child’s cholesterol, your doctor can prescribe medication to help reduce their cholesterol. Your doctor can also answer your questions and help you make changes to enhance the health of your child and your whole family.
Call Children’s Cardiology Group or make an appointment online today for expert treatment of pediatric hypercholesterolemia.