Children with Lipid Disorders

Children with Lipid Disorders

There is an alarming trend of kids prone to unhealthy diets, higher rates of obesity, and decreased physical activity. It’s no surprise that these factors can lead to dyslipidemia in children. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in the United States according to a report from the American Heart Association (AHA).

Atherosclerosis begins in childhood and continues throughout adulthood. Abnormal cholesterol levels are the main cause of atherosclerosis. Abnormal would be described in particular as low HDL levels, high triglycerides, and high LDL levels. It’s just as important to correct these problems in childhood to reduce the risk of developing negative cardiovascular diseases later in life.

How old does a child have to be to consider their lipid profile? Conventional wisdom believes that lipid profiles shouldn’t be assessed until a child is 2 years and older. Because children have various peaks and valleys during their development, there are several sets of guidelines adopted by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

The AHA considers childhood triglyceride levels greater than 150 mg/dL, total cholesterol greater than 200 mg/dL, LDL levels greater than 130 mg/dL, and HDL levels less than 35 mg/dL to be abnormal. The AAP recommends two approaches to treating childhood dyslipidemia.

The first approach is a population approach which is recommended for all children. This includes maintaining recommended body weight, active lifestyle, and good eating habits.Children older than 2 years old should limit cholesterol intake to 300 mg per day, total fat to between 20% and 30% of daily calories, and limit saturated fat to less than 10% of daily calories. A variety of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy, high fiber foods, lean meats, and oily fish should be consumed. Sugar and salt should also be limited.

The second approach is called the individual approach. This approach is tailored for specific kids and involves dietary intervention. A dietitian is consulted and a diet is created with less than 7% of calories coming from saturated fat, less than 200 mg of cholesterol per day, and an increase in daily fiber. Children that are older than 8 years with extreme lipid levels who fail to achieve goals from natural interventions may be suitable for pharmacologic therapy.


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2 comments

  1. Jannina Guerrero

    I am 19 years old and ever since the first time I had my cholesterol checked, the levels barely change. The first time my cholesterol was read was in 2010. My HDL is always lower than 39, my total cholesterol is always higher than 169, my triglycerides is higher than 149, and my LDL level are within range. I am on a diet, avoiding all junk food and eating less greasy food, and of course eating more fruits and exercising. I do not understand why my levels do not change significantly, my doctor suggested that my body may be producing its own cholesterol and maybe that is why the levels are not changing. The medicine I am currently taking is Fenofibrate and I just started Lovaza. My most recent cholesterol total is 196 H mg/dl, my triglycerides is 337 H mg/dl, my HDL is 36 L mg/dl, and my LDL is 93 mg/dl. After reading this I wondered if dyslipidemia could only be found during childhood and what are some other symptoms of it…

    • Dyslipidemia can be hereditary, therefore, diet and exercise is sometimes not enough to get normal levels. Your doctor will discuss possible medications to help bridge the gap. I’ve found Lovaza to be very effective.

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