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Screening children for high cholesterol

The high rate of childhood obesity in the US has prompted some pediatricians to start screening kids for high cholesterol. Cholesterol tests are not just for adults. Maddie Zacks is only 9 and she has already been tested twice because of a family history of heart disease. Pediatricians like Dr. Jennifer Shu recommend the blood tests for certain youngsters ages 2 to 10. “The children who are most concerning are those who are already overweight or obese or if they have family history of early heart disease,” she said. If a child's cholesterol is high, what do you do about it? Doctors point to lifestyle changes such as daily exercise and eating a healthy diet. As a last resort, a small percentage of children might be prescribed a cholesterol-lowering drug called A Statin. “Putting a child, or even a teenager, on A Statin is a major step because that individual may require Statin therapy for the rest of their life,” said president of the American Heart Association, Tim Gardner, Md. Something Maddie does not have to worry about after getting her results back. Her cholesterol level was a 148.

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