High Cholesterol -- Not Just An Adult Problem

6:10 PM, Mar 7, 2013   |    comments
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BALTIMORE, Md. (WUSA9) -- Do you know your child's cholesterol levels?  Have they ever been checked?

Gregory Roberts of New Freedom, Pennslyvania says, "My father died at 55 and a lot of older relatives have had heart attacks and stuff like that, and it all deals with cholesterol."

Both of Gregory's kids have high cholesterol.  Especially high levels of LDL, this is the bad cholesterol that can clog arteries with plaque and fatty deposits.

Last year a panel recommended screening in all children from ages 9 to 11.  The recommendation is endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics.  A huge step that caused a bit of a stir in the pediatric community.

Shetarra Walker, M.D. of Johns Hopkins Children's Center says, "Most people think that cholesterol is an adult problem.  We are moving towards more preventative medicine even in pediatrics, and that's why cholesterol is really important."

High cholesterol in kids can lead to serious problems when they become young adults, such as heart disease and strokes.  High LDL levels in kids may produce no symptoms, and the children affected might not be obese.

Dr. Walker says, "I find that the majority of our kids tend to be normal weight or thin kids, and it's those kids that benefit from such screening initiatives."

Including Gregory's kids, and he advises every parent to get their children screened.

Mr. Roberts says, "The only reason why we even thought that there was a possibility there could be bad history with cholesterol in my kids is because I have a bad history with cholesterol.  But there may be some other kids out there that might just fall through the cracks."

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