High Cholesterol in Kids: Three Risk Factors
Adults are not the only ones affected with high cholesterol. Kids can also have high cholesterol levels, even if they are not overweight. There are three risk factors linked with high cholesterol levels in children:
Yes, hereditary factors are also responsible for high cholesterol levels in children. In most cases, kids with a family history of high cholesterol or early heart disease have greater risks of elevated cholesterol. According to Julie Brothers, (M.D.) medical director of the Lipid Heart Clinic at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, “Although the most common reasons for high cholesterol are poor diet, being overweight, and not getting enough exercise, some apparently healthy children inherit high cholesterol levels from their parents."
Kids with a parent, sibling, grandparent, uncle or aunt with elevated cholesterol levels have high levels of LDL or Low-Density Lipoprotein. They may have Familial Hypercholesterolemia (FH), a genetic tendency for excess cholesterol levels. LDL, also called “bad cholesterol", can lead to plaque build-up on the walls of arteries. This can result in an increased risk of premature heart disease or an early heart attack.
Along with overweight or obese children, kids with FH are also recommended to undergo a complete high cholesterol profile. Modifications in diet and regular exercise, in addition to medications prescribed by doctors, are the first-line treatment for children identified with high cholesterol levels.