Why Every Child Should Get A Cholesterol Test

Reported by: Lauren Gawthrop
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Updated: 7/26/2012 8:29 am
Heart disease seems to start developing later in life, but the truth is, even children can show signs of the disease.

High cholesterol levels are a precursor to heart disease. Because of this, new guidelines were released urging pediatricians to test all kids cholesterol regardless of their weight or family history.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends cholesterol screening for all kids between the ages of 9 and 11, then again at ages 17-21.

A blood sample is taken from the child and used to determine if he or she is genetically pre-disposed to having high cholesterol.

In the past, only children who were overweight or had a family history of heart disease were screened.

If your child is at risk, your pediatrician will help to put together an action plan for your child.

"So, the first step is usually to make that you're eating a healthy diet, getting plenty of physical activity, things that help the body to metabolize cholesterol in a normal, healthy way. For a very small percentage of children and teens, some would estimate even less than one percent, they may require a medication," said Cleveland Clinic pediatrician Dr. Allison Brindle.

Dr. Brindle recommends talking to your pediatrician about getting your child's cholesterol levels checked if they haven't addressed it already.
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