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Cholesterol Screening for Kids: Is it Necessary?

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A recent recommendation from the National Heart, Blood and Lung association suggests that children aged 9 to 11 should begin getting screened for high cholesterol levels.

Of course, as with every new health recommendation, there is some opposition.

Although the intentions are good, with hopes to reduce heart disease in adults by testing and correcting it in youth, many kids that have high cholesterol during one doctor visit often naturally correct it before the next.

However, the 2007 recommendation suggests that there simply is not enough evidence to show that testing individuals under 20 will do a great deal of good.

The opposition also suggests that the early screening will simply be unsuccessful due to the fact that testing cholesterol levels requires a blood draw — creating a combination of kids and needles that doesn’t usually mix well.

Although there are natural ways to treat high cholesterol, most people diagnosed simply reach for America’s most prescribed pharmaceutical — statins — drugs whose effects on children are not known to be effective.

In fact, according to U.S. News Health, 25 percent of people abandon statins within six months, parting with the unpleasant side effects. In fact, depending on which study you read, statins could be either dangerous or harmless.

Having high cholesterol is serious business. According to U.S. News Health, over half of all adults suffer from high cholesterol. Over time, high cholesterol leads to plaque build-up in the body’s arteries, causing constricted blood vessels, making it more difficult for blood to flow to the heart.

Over time, constricted blood vessels can cause problems like atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), angina (chest pain), and at worst — heart disease or heart attack.

This recommendation does however, remind us that having high cholesterol is dangerous and serious. The over-prescribed drug to lower cholesterol isn’t for everyone so it’s important to remember that there are natural ways to reduce cholesterol.

Diet is number one. Watching your cholesterol intake by limiting the amount of animal products and fats in your diet can help significantly. Adding more soluble fiber as found in whole grains and beans can also help.

Exercise! Good for the body in many ways. Exercising expends energy that in turn decreases fat and cholesterol.

Stop smoking! Smoking lowers the levels of good cholesterol in your body. Choosing to not smoke is yet another life choice that positively affects your health in so many ways.

The best way to get children’s cholesterol levels down is by setting a good example. Leading a healthy life creates healthy habits for yourself and your loved ones! The choice is yours, let’s help create a healthier tomorrow by making healthier choices today!


"Cholesterol Basics: Types, Risk Factors, Levels, and Treatment." WebMD - Better information. Better health.. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Nov. 2011. http://www.webmd.com/cholesterol-management/guide/cholesterol-basics?page=2

"Lower Cholesterol Naturally – Alternatives to Statin Drugs." Reducing Cholesterol Naturally. N.p., 2 May 2010. Web. 20 Nov. 2011. http://reducingcholesterolnaturally.com/lower-cholesterol-naturally-alternatives-to-statin-drugs

Shute, Nancy. "Now Children Need Cholesterol Tests, Too : Shots - Health Blog : NPR." NPR : National Public Radio : News & Analysis, World, US, Music & Arts : NPR. N.p., 11 Nov. 2011. Web. 20 Nov. 2011. http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2011/11/11/142243551/now-children-need-cholesterol-tests-too#more

Voiland, Adam. "Lowering LDL Cholesterol." Health News Articles - US News Health. N.p., 6 Feb. 2008. Web. 20 Nov. 2011. http://health.usnews.com/health-conditions/heart-health/lowering-ldl-cholesterol

Reviewed November 28, 2011
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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