Children as young as 2 should be tested for high cholesterol, group says
MONDAY, July 7 (HealthDay News) -- In a further concession to the impact of the childhood obesity epidemic in the United States, a leading group of pediatricians is recommending that kids as young as 8 years old be given cholesterol-lowering drugs in hopes of preventing heart problems later in life.
The American Academy of Pediatrics also recommends that children as young as 2 years old start having their cholesterol levels screened if they have a family history of heart disease or high cholesterol. Screening should start no later than 10, the academy said.
Dr. Steven P. Shelov, chairman of pediatrics at Maimonides Medical Center and head of Maimonides Infants & Children's Hospital in New York City, said he agreed with the new guidelines. "More aggressive screening is a good idea, and the use of [cholesterol-lowering] statins at relatively low doses will keep cholesterol at safer ranges."
The academy is also recommending that children whose family history of cholesterol is not known, or who have risk factors for heart disease -- including obesity, high blood pressure or diabetes -- have their cholesterol tested.
The recommendations were published in the July issue of the journal Pediatrics.
According to the recommendation, the best method for checking cholesterol is a fasting blood test. Children whose cholesterol is normal should have the test repeated every three to five years.
For those children older than 8 who have high levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol, doctors should consider giving them statins.
For younger children with high cholesterol, lifestyle changes such as losing weight and increasing physical activity, as well as nutritional counseling, should be considered.
Also, for children 1 year old and older who may be overweight or obese, the academy recommends giving them l
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