All Kids Need Cholesterol Tests as per new guidelines
As per new guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics published in Paedatrics cholesterol checks should be part of periodic well-child visits for all children. One should screen cholesterol at least once between the ages of 9 and 11 and again at 17 to 21.
Doctors previously had been directed to screen cholesterol only in children with risk factors like a family history of heart disease or high cholesterol. Routine screening need only be a non-HDL cholesterol measurement that doesn't require fasting, said Padmashri and Dr B C Roy National Awardee Dr K K Aggarwal President Heart Care Foundation of India.
Dietary management is often effective and should be the first line of attack against elevated cholesterol. Short-term use of plant sterol or stanol esters -- such as those in some margarines -- have been shown safe at doses up to 20 g per day, but longer-term use hasn't been tested and should be reserved for children who don't respond to diet alone.
Statins should be considered for those with LDL levels at 190 mg/dL or higher for children who are at least 10 years old and haven't responded after six months of lifestyle management or at an LDL of 160 to 189 mg/dL if risk factors are present.
- One should emphasize on breastfeeding and a diet low in saturated fat after a child's first year.
- Advise parents on protecting children from tobacco exposure
- Start active anti-smoking advice to children at ages 5 to 9.
- Track weight-for-height, reviewing growth with parents and refer when above the 85th percentile without reductions for more than six months after age 4.
- Start routine annual blood pressure checks at age 3.
- Encourage physical activity and limiting time spent sedentary or in front of a screen to two hours or less per day.
- Start measuring fasting glucose at age 9 to 11.
- Detecting and intervening on these risks early should give children a healthier future.