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Screening Guidelines Miss Many Kids With High Cholesterol
Date:7/12/2010

risk factors," said Dr. Eric Quivers, director of preventative cardiology at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh.

And, Quivers said that while family history definitely plays a role in the development of high cholesterol, sedentary behavior and a diet full of high-calorie, fatty foods can also affect a child's cholesterol and cardiovascular risk factors.

"There is a genetic as well as an environmental component to cholesterol levels," said Quivers.

In addition, the most widely used cholesterol-lowering drugs -- statins -- carry certain risks, including the development of a disorder that causes severe muscle damage and in very rare cases can be fatal. Even if children fit the criteria for possible cholesterol-lowering drugs, the first line of defense against high cholesterol, according to the National Cholesterol Education Project, is a change in lifestyle, including regular physical activity, a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and, if necessary, losing weight.

An NCEP expert panel has suggested, however, that cholesterol medications be considered if a child with abnormally high cholesterol is at least 8 years old and has not met therapeutic goals after at least 6 months of following a dietary plan designed to lower cholesterol.

More information

Learn more about cholesterol in children from the Nemours Foundation KidsHealth Web site.

SOURCES: William Neal, M.D., professor of pediatrics, and director, the Coronary Artery Risk Detection in Appalachian Communities (CARDIAC) Project, Robert C. Byrd Health Science Center, West Virginia University, Morgantown; Eric Quivers, M.D., director of preventative cardiology, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh; August 2010, Pediatrics


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