Page 24 - Alaska Parent Spring 2019
P. 24

 ask the expert: the tween & teen years
  Q
Our pediatrician checked our teenager’s cholesterol and it came back high. What should we do?
This is a great question. The first thing you should know is that you need to take action and follow up on these test results. High cholesterol, at any age, can increase a person’s risk for heart disease and stroke.
As parents, we want to raise healthy kids, and not paying attention to this now can impact your child later in life.
This is also a timely question as new guidelines surrounding cholesterol have recently been released by the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology and parents should be aware about information regarding cholesterol and children.
First, the new guidelines recommend a more personalized approach to determining a treatment plan for patients – all patients, children and adults. But in terms of your child, this is why it’s important to schedule an appointment with your pediatrician to discuss your teenager’s cholesterol test results. Together, you will work on a plan to help manage their cholesterol numbers – a plan designed specifically for them. Possible treatment options could include a healthy eating plan, a plan to add physical activity, medication or a combined approach.
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 The good news is you know about this now and, as an active and concerned parent, you are able to help your child take steps to manage their cholesterol numbers today vs. waiting until it negatively impacts their heart health.
Parents should also be aware that if they have a family history of high cholesterol, the guidelines suggest that pediatricians should consider selected testing of children as young as 2 years of age. In children without any known risk factors, pediatricians may recommend tests between the ages of 9 and 11 and then again between 17 and 21.
For more information about cholesterol, visit heart.org/cholesterol.
{ Dr. Scott Wellmann is a Pediatric Cardiologist and Founder of the Alaska } Children’s Heart Center. Dr. Wellmann serves on the board of the Alaska Division of the American Heart Association where he is a strong advocate for
the health of all Alaskans, including our youngest patients
and next generation.
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