How should high cholesterol in children be treated?
Answers from M. Regina Castro, M.D.
The first treatment approach for high cholesterol in children involves lifestyle changes that can benefit the entire family: Lose weight, eat healthy foods, and exercise more.
In particular, avoid processed foods that contain large amounts of saturated fats, trans fats and sugars. Be more active throughout the day and minimize the amount of time spent in front of computers, tablets, televisions and phones.
Your doctor might suggest cholesterol medications if your child:
- Continues to have high cholesterol despite lifestyle changes
- Is at least 10 years old
- Has other health problems, such as diabetes or high blood pressure
- Has a genetic type of high cholesterol
It's important to reduce high cholesterol in children because the condition can lead to narrowed and hardened arteries, increasing the risk of heart disease later in life.
M. Regina Castro, M.D.
Sept. 20, 2017
- Expert panel on integrated guidelines for cardiovascular health and risk reduction in children and adolescents: Summary report. Pediatrics. 2011;128:S213.
- De Ferranti SD, et al. Dyslipidemia in children: Management. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed Aug. 21, 2017.
- De Groot LJ, et al. Nutritional management of pediatric dyslipidemia. In: Endotext. South Dartmouth, Mass.: MDText.com Inc.; 2016. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK395582/. Accessed Aug. 21, 2017.
- Cholesterol and your child. American Academy of Family Physicians. https://familydoctor.org/cholesterol-and-your-child. Accessed Aug. 21, 2017.
- Shah AS, et al. Primary hypertriglyceridemia in children and adolescents. Journal of Clinical Lipidology. 2015;9:S20.
- Lopez-Jimenez F (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Sept. 7, 2017.