Cholesterol Screening and Your Child
While cardiovascular disease is rare in children, risk factors present in childhood can greatly increase the likelihood a child will develop heart disease as an adult. In response, guidelines sponsored by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), part the National Institutes of Health, and endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends ALL children between 9 and 11 years old undergo universal screening for high blood cholesterol levels regardless of risk factors.
There is convincing evidence that children with cholesterol problems become adults with high cholesterol. Less than 1% of children with high cholesterol will require medication, but it will be important to limit cholesterol dense foods, incorporate heart-healthy, cholesterol lowering foods and increase activity/exercise in those children with elevated levels.
Risk factors that increase your child’s likelihood of elevated cholesterol include:
Children whose parents or grandparents have had heart attacks, stroke or have been diagnosed with blocked arteries or disease affecting the blood vessels at age 55 or earlier in men, or age 65 or earlier in women.
- Children whose parents or grandparents have total blood cholesterol levels of 240 or higher
- Children whose family health background is not known
- Children who have characteristics of heart disease or have conditions at risk for heart disease such as high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking or obesity.
- For low risk children, a NON-FASTING Total Cholesterol and HDL (good cholesterol) are recommended
- For children with risk factors a FASTING Lipid Profile is recommended
- What does fasting mean? 8-12 hours without food (water is ok). Typically, this is easiest in the morning prior to eating breakfast.
- Where do I go to get this done? We will provide the lab order and a map of blood draw stations.
- When will I know the results? We will call within 5-7 business days with results.
Did your results come back elevated?
Guide to Lowering Cholesterol
For parents of overweight or obese children/teens:
Helpful Tips for Parents