Cholesterol Readings in Children – An Often Overlooked Facet of Long Term Good Health
Cholesterol is a wax like substance that is an essential part of good health. Believe it or not cholesterol has been with you long before you were born and according to a study in the Journal of Science, cholesterol enhances an embryo’s healthy development by triggering the activity of the specific genes that instruct embryonic cells to become specialized structures; arms, legs, spine, and so on. This same study produced evidence that one out of every nine thousand babies are born with a birth defect linked to the fetus’s failure to make the cholesterol it needs. For this reason, along with a few others, pregnant women are generally not advised to take cholesterol lowering drugs.
After birth a child will start to grow and develop. While having enough cholesterol is very important, cholesterol readings that are too high can pose a serious problem to cardiovascular health. Another recent study found that children, which were once thought to be immune to artery disease, could see the beginnings of atherosclerosis as young as age 3.
Cholesterol readings in children (total cholesterol) begin to rise gradually from age 2 to age 10 and then begins to rise and fall in a gender related pattern. According to a study conducted by the University of Texas a boy’s cholesterol level is likely to reach its peak around the age of 16, with girls achieving this milestone at the tender age of 9.
So should cholesterol reading be taken regularly for children? According to the American Academy of Pediatrics the answer is a surprising no. The AAP only recommends cholesterol testing for a relatively small number of children which includes those with parents who have had a heart attack, stroke, or have received a diagnosis of coronary artery disease before the age of 55. Additionally, the AAP recommends cholesterol reading be taken if a child’s parents have a cholesterol reading above 240 mg/dl. As you may have already concluded cholesterol readings above 240 are considered high risk and could possibly have a genetic component.
The American Heart Association guidelines for cholesterol readings for children and adolescents age 2 through 19 looks like this:
Total cholesterol: 170 mg/dl acceptable; 170 -199 mg/dl borderline; 200 mg/dl high
LDL (bad cholesterol): 110 mg/dl acceptable; 110 – 129 mg/dl borderline; 130 mg/dl high
In summary, cholesterol readings and children is an interesting and often neglected topic. What is becoming increasingly clear is that establishing good healthy eating habits, along with regular testing for at risk children, is a very important part of achieving good health both in the present and long into the future.
Additionally, many natural health minded parents have found natural cholesterol remedies to be a good alternative to prescription medications for older kids. While alternative natural treatments for cholesterol [out] are generally considered safe, you should consult your doctor for additional information just to make sure.