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Should all children be screened for high cholesterol?

July 11, 2010 |  9:01 pm

High cholesterol is common enough in children these days that all of them should be screened for the condition, say the authors of a new study examining the rates of high cholesterol in children.

KidsStatins Currently, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends screening children and teens who have a family history of premature heart disease or high cholesterol or those children who already have risk factors for heart disease, such as obesity, high blood pressure or who smoke or have diabetes. For these children, screening should start after age 2 and before age 10.

However, a sizable number of people don't have accurate information on family medical history. In the new study, released online Sunday in the journal Pediatrics, researchers reviewed data from more than 20,000 fifth-grade children in West Virginia, including examining their family history and conducting blood cholesterol tests. They found that more than 71% of the children met guidelines for cholesterol screening based on family history. Among children whose family history wasn't known, 9.5% had high cholesterol -- with 1.7% of those children requiring medication to treat the condition.

Screening all children for cholesterol, rather than just those with a family history, will uncover many more cases of the condition that can be treated early to prevent heart disease later in life, the authors said. Statin therapy has been shown to be safe and effective in lowering LDL cholesterol (the bad kind of cholesterol) levels in children.

Moreover, the authors wrote: "...the added and undeniable benefit of identifying and screening parents and other first-degree relatives as a result to finding elevated LDL levels in their children could lead to the prevention of premature cardiac events in adults that may have otherwise gone undiagnosed."

-- Shari Roan

Photo: More than 13 million Americans are taking statins to lower their cholesterol and stave off heart disease. Credit: Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times

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Comments (4)

Cardiologist Peter Langsjoen notes that statin treatment may lead to heart muscle weakening and failure. ‘It occurs because statin drugs block the production of coenzyme Q10, vital for the production of cell energy,’ says Langsjoen. ‘Evidence to the FDA shows marked reduction of CoQ10 in patients on statin drugs.’

So with children as young as 10 being offered statins another point to be borne in mind is the use of long term drug therapy to lower cholesterol levels, where it is unclear what the full effects might be over a 30 year period. In spite of this, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gives approval for this class of drugs on the basis of less than 10 years’ clinical trials.

Here's a damned idea:

Rather than shoving ineffective and downright dangerous drugs down the mouths of our children, let's first stop seeking government advice on what to eat. Really, people? We've seen how inefficient and bass-ackwards government agencies can be, yet people cling to the Food Pyramid and DV like nothing else. How about we stop subsidizing farmers to grow poison (corn and soybeans), and passing it off as "health food". How about we stop pushing inflammatory foods (like grains, soy, and sugar) into all of our bodies, thus reducing the risk of artherosclerosis and heart disease almost instantaneously. All of these things can be adjusted via simple lifestyle changes, but there's no money to be made in that, so we turn to drugs.

Google "statin dangers", "Lipitor chewables" and "Weston A. Price" or "Paleo Lifestyle". I'm done here.

Please lets for once and always debunk this cholesterol myths:

How sad.

The whole Cholesterol thing is a con. Your body produces it and needs it. Anthony Colpo's "The Great Cholesterol Con" is a great place to start for educating yourself.


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