High Cholesterol In Children: Causes, Diagnosis And Treatment
Our body produces cholesterol and converts it into what it needs. Cholesterol can also be taken from outside the body by eating foods such as dairy products, red meat, and egg yolks. Specific amounts of cholesterol are necessary for the proper functioning of a child’s body. Cholesterol helps with the building of cells in tissues and the production of hormones. Too much cholesterol in the blood can build up in the walls of the coronary arteries that supply blood to the heart muscle and can cause blockages and eventually lead to serious heart problems.
Most parents don’t pay attention to their children’s cholesterol levels or don’t bother to get them tested. For some children, it becomes important to know their lipoprotein and overall blood cholesterol levels and adjust preventive measures if they are at risk for coronary artery blockage.
Causes of High Cholesterol in Children
There are three main causes of high cholesterol in children.
A diet high in fats, especially saturated and trans fats, contributes to the vicious problem of high cholesterol in children. Children like to eat fast food such as chocolate, cakes, pastries, cookies, hamburgers, fries, pizza, fried chicken, and also enjoy drinking soda and cola. Consumption of these foods can lead to obesity and eventually to high cholesterol levels in the body.
Heredity plays an important role in the cause of high cholesterol. Children whose mother or father or other close relatives have high cholesterol problems are more likely to develop the disease. The cause of this problem is beyond human control.
It is said that obesity is the mother of all diseases, and our common observation is. This has a lot to do with the problem of hypercholesterolemia as well. Obesity is one of the main causes of high cholesterol in children. This may be due to a large number of improper diets and lack of exercise. Obesity can also be due to some hereditary problem, but, whatever the cause, it undoubtedly leads to cholesterol problems in children.
Children who are physically active and energetic, have a good diet, are underweight, and have no family history of heart disease are less likely to have high cholesterol.
Diagnosing high cholesterol in children
It is recommended that every child between the ages of 9-11 and 17-21 should have their cholesterol checked.
Children over the age of two should be screened if
- Their mother, father, or any other immediate family member has a cholesterol level above 240 mg/dL.
- Have a family history of heart disease and heart conditions before the age of 65 for women and 55 for men.
- Have any type of serious medical condition such as Kawasaki disease, kidney disease or juvenile idiopathic arthritis.
- They weigh more than a healthy person or have obesity.
- They are diabetic
Parents of children with the above symptoms can ask their doctor to check their child’s cholesterol level. The test requires that the child not eat or drink anything except water.
Treatment of high cholesterol in children
Caring for children with high cholesterol is a family affair since most parents of children with high cholesterol have high cholesterol themselves and exercise and diet are largely supervised by the parents.
- Parents should not scold their children. As a parent, you must present the facts in an age-appropriate manner. Seek the advice of your family doctor. Engage in healthy discussions by thinking about how to help your child improve his or her health. Do not use force to treat. Instead, you should make it a challenge and the goal should be good physical health for each member of your family.
- Plan family meals to see what your child likes to eat or what he or she actually eats and drinks. Focus on foods that are high in fat or cholesterol. If your child eats at school, make sure his or her choices or options are healthy. Healthy foods fall into five categories: fruits, vegetables, whole grains such as breads and cereals, legumes and fish. Make sure your child avoids foods such as French fries, hamburgers, pizza and fried chicken strips. Soft drinks should not be given to children. They are simply not a healthy choice.
- Organize family activities, including physical activities such as games, hiking, walking, running, biking, swimming and other organized sports. Children should get at least 60 minutes of vigorous exercise each day. Physical activity combined with a healthy diet can help eliminate obesity.
- After 3 months of not changing and adjusting your child’s diet, you should check your child’s cholesterol levels again.
- Discuss the use of medication with your child’s doctor. Medication is generally considered for children over the age of 10. In addition, medication may be tried after diet and exercise changes. If these measures do not work, then your doctor may consider giving medication.
High cholesterol in children is a serious problem that parents are very concerned about. However, with careful care, this problem can be solved and your child can lead a healthy and happy life. As a parent, you need to be concerned that your child is following a healthy, nutritious diet. You need to encourage your child to be physically active every day and see that he is active. Last but not least, you need to test your child’s cholesterol levels.