The American Academy of Pediatrics updated its policy regarding cholesterol screening in kids in the July issue of Pediatrics. Unfortunately, many media outlets chose to highlight only the discussion of using lipid lowering medications for kids and basically missed the boat on what the new policy was really saying. Since we took the time to actually read the report, here is what it boils down to:
1.All children do not need to have cholesterol levels checked.(These tests are also known as a fasting lipid panel, HDL/LDL/triglycerides)
2. More kids are at risk for having high cholesterol levels today because more kids are overweight...which often go hand in hand. Kids who are overweight, with Body Mass Index over 85th percentile should be screened.
3. Kids who have other risk factors for high cholesterol should be screened. These include family members with early heart attacks/disease (men younger than 55, women younger than 65) or high cholesterol levels.
4. Kids with high blood pressure, obesity, or diabetes, and kids who smoke should be screened.
5. Kids should be screened between two and ten years of age, and no one should be screened before age 2.
6. For kids over 8 years of age who have over 190 mg/dL LDL (that's really high folks), especially with other risk factors like obesity, diabetes, or metabolic syndrome, medications may be an option.