U.S. panel recommends testing kids’ cholesterol

Posted by: admin on: February 22, 2012

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Experts say kids 9-11 should be checked to catch high levels early, prevent heart damage
We have been seeing gross obesity in children and wondering whether atheroma(s) would have already started in them. Now with definitive guidelines available, select kids should be tested for dyslipidaemia.

Team@CMHF

The cholesterol check — a rite of passage for middle-age Americans — could soon become a standard test for children.

A national panel of experts recommended Friday that the blood test be given to all children between the ages of 9 and 11 so that high cholesterol can be treated before it causes heart damage.

The recommendations were made by a panel appointed by the National Institutes of Health and endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Cholesterol tests cost around $80 and usually are covered by health insurance.

The guidelines say that cholesterol drugs likely would be recommended for fewer than 1 percent of kids tested. Most children found to have high cholesterol would be advised to control it with diet and physical activity.

Robinson is an expert on cholesterol and has helped write national guidelines for testing adults. She has worked on studies sponsored by companies that make cholesterol-lowering medications, such as statins. But she said she and most other doctors would first emphasize lifestyle improvements if a child tested high for cholesterol.

A different group of government advisers, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, concluded in 2007 that too little was known about the possible benefits and harms to recommend for or against cholesterol screening for children. One of that group’s leaders, Dr. Michael LeFevre, a family medicine specialist at the University of Missouri, said that for the new task force to declare screening beneficial, there must be evidence that treatment improves health, such as preventing heart attacks. It’s not enough to show that treatment nudges down the cholesterol score, he said.

“Some of the argument is that we need to treat children when they’re 14 or 15 to keep them from having a heart attack when they’re 50, and that’s a pretty long lag time,” he said.

Ref: http://www.desmoinesregister.com/article/20111112/NEWS/311120032/-1/gallery_array/?odyssey=nav%7Chead

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