Children and cholesterol

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Updated: 4/11/2007 5:47 pm
It's rarely necessary to be concerned about cholesterol levels in children or adolescents before the age of 19. Instead, if potential cholesterol problems are an issue, the whole family may choose to participate in a heart-healthy diet. This is often an effective way to train the younger family members in a lifetime healthy eating pattern, helping to prevent future high blood cholesterol. However, if a parent is known to have very high cholesterol levels, or if a parent or grandparent has been diagnosed with heart disease before age 55, it may be advisable to check the children's blood cholesterol. Further, it may be useful to determine blood cholesterol levels of very obese children, or youngsters with other risk factors. If a cholesterol check is necessary, it can be done at a regular doctor's visit. Usually, the physician will test for total cholesterol first. If that number is unacceptably high, then the 'bad' LDL (L-D-L) levels will generally be checked as well. If LDL is high compared to the normal range for children, the physician may recommend heart-healthy nutrition and exercise guidelines. If you're concerned about your child's cholesterol level, or would like to know more about children and cholesterol, contact a health care provider
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