Lipids are very important component of our body . Cholesterol helps to make cell membranes, some hormones, and vitamin D. The cholesterol in blood comes from 2 sources.
Cholesterol and other fats are carried through the blood by lipoproteins – low-density lipoproteins (LDL). & high-density lipoproteins (HDL).
LDL is the bad cholesterol . Increase in LDL causes plaques and hardens the arteries leading to heart attacks , so LDL level has to be low
HDL or the good cholesterol helps toremove LDL from the blood& prevent plaque in the blood vessels, so HDL should be as high as possible
Triglycerides are another type of fat found in the blood. Most of your teen’s body fat is in the form of triglycerides.
High levels of triglycerides are linked with a higher risk of heart disease.
High triglyceride levels may be caused by any of these:
- Kidney disease
- Liver disease
- Gene that causes high triglyceride levels in families (familial hypertriglyceridemia)
- Eating a lot of high-fat or sugary foods
- Drinking a lot of alcohol
A lipid screening test should be done to look at the levels of the fats in the blood especially if there is family history of heart diseases in 1 or both parents or family history of high lipids . Children , teens and youth are at risk due to:
- Lack of physical activity
- Excess use of screen time
- High-fat or high-sugar diets
- Family history of high cholesterol levels
Children and teens with high cholesterol are at higher risk for heart disease as adults. Keeping blood cholesterol levels in the normal range reduces this risk.
Lipid testing by age
Your child may need to fast before the blood test. This depends on the type of lipid test done. Fasting means your child should not eat food or drink anything but water before the test.
- Under age 2. Lipid testing is not advised.
- Ages 2 to 8. Testing is advised if your child has other risk factors for heart disease. These include diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, exposure to cigarette smoke, or a family history of these. Other risk factors include family history of early coronary artery disease or lipid disorder, kidney disease, or other chronic inflammatory diseases.
- Ages 9 to 11. Testing is advised. This can be done with either a fasting or non-fasting lipid profile.
- Ages 12 to 16. Testing is not advised. This is because of changing lipid levels during puberty. But testing is advised if your child has risk factors as noted above.
- Ages 17 to 21. Testing is advised. This is because lipid levels are more stable after puberty.
Treating high cholesterol in your child or teen is necessary
If the results of your child’s lipid tests are abnormal, treatment plan is necessary .Lifestyle modifications through healthy diet, weight loss, and more physical activity may bring your child’s blood lipid levels to normal. Avoid smoking in teenagers .Control their diabetes, high blood pressure, or other conditions that contribute to heart disease.Medications may be required if cholesterol is not controlled with lifestyle modifications .