Do your Children need to be tested for High Cholesterol?

This morning I was watching the news on BBC1 and there was an interesting segment on high cholesterol and the fact that the genetic link to high cholesterol is being missed.  What caught my attention was the fact that children as young as 1 are being tested for high cholesterol, I did not know that this took place.  It has been said that Cholesterol tests in children between the age of one and nine years are the most accurate because as people get older their cholesterol gets higher for other reasons, such as an unhealthy diet.  Experts have even gone as far as to say that children should receive a cholesterol check when they receive their routine vaccinations at 15 months. 

It was explained that familial hypercholesterolaemia is genetic and if one family member is diagnosed, the others will also need to be tested. For every child with the condition, one parent would also have to be affected and they could also be tested and treated.  The benefit to testing children for high cholesterol as a routine at such a young age is that, if they are diagnosed their parents would also be tested and treated if necessary also.  It is important for people to be diagnosed, if people are not treated the result is that over half of men and a third of women will develop heart disease before the age of 55.

The good news is that children are rarely treated with statins, parents are simply encouraged to give the child a healthy lifestyle and healthy diet.  The child will then be reviewed in a few years.  A study, which involved more than 6,800 children from Bogalusa, Louisiana, found that after four years, cholesterol levels in children who initially tested high dropped below threshold levels 60 percent of the time.  Dr Richard Di Censo explains that “exercise is one of the best and safest ways to control cholesterol levels” in his book Beyond Medicine, Explaining New Ways of Thinking.  The important thing is that the high cholesterol is detected as early as possible. 

 The British Heart Foundation has an article which gives some great tips on naturally lowering high cholesterol, below I have summarized them:

  • Cut your total fat intake
  • Know which fats are bad and which ones are beneficial to the body
  • Get active brisk walking, jogging, visit the gym, exercise really helps
  • Stop  this only has a negative effect on your body and cholesterol
  • Small amounts of red wine, approximately 2-3 units per day can be beneficial
  • Eat more fresh fruit and veg
  • Make sure you are within the healthy weight bracket for your height, being overweight can increase your cholesterol and your risk of coronary heart disease
  • Eat more oily fish which is high in Omega 3 and good for you
  • Get good protein each day 25g of soy protein is sufficient

If you would like to read the article in more depth please click on this link http://newsletter.bhf.org.uk/e_article000664561.cfm?x=b8bppc8,b26sSHD6  The tips are practical and will allow you to hopefully lower your cholesterol naturally.

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