How is high cholesterol in children diagnosed?

Healthcare professionals can check cholesterol in school-age children with a simple blood test. Conducting such a test is especially important if there is a strong family history of heart disease or if a parent of the child has high cholesterol. The blood test results will reveal whether a child's cholesterol is too high.

Updated guidelines and recommendations for the treatment of high cholesterol in children eight years of age and older were issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics in July 2008. These guidelines recommend:

  • Medical treatment of elevated LDL (bad cholesterol) if the value is greater than 190 mg/dL in patients with no risk factors for cardiovascular disease and if diet modification has been unsuccessful.
  • Medical treatment for patients with an LDL greater than 160 mg/dL who have a family history of an early onset of cardiovascular disease or other risk factors, including obesity, hypertension, or cigarette smoking.
  • Medical treatment for patients with an LDL greater than 130 mg/dL who have diabetes.

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