Children and Cholesterol Drugs
Monday, June 8, 2009

A study published in the journal Circulation estimates that 200,000 preteen and teenage Americans need cholesterol-lowering medication. Dr. Edward Hill discusses this studyís findings in todayís 60 Second Housecall.

Growing evidence is showing that artery-clogging plaque buildup begins in childhood and one study estimates that about 200,000 U.S. teens and preteens need medication to lower their cholesterol.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommended that doctors consider cholesterol-lowering drugs, called statins, for children aged 8 and older if a blood test shows they have high cholesterol, particularly if they have a family history of heart disease.

Researchers reviewed information from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The analysis showed that the childrenís average LDL and total cholesterol levels were both among acceptable levels. However, 5 to 7 percent of the adolescents had high LDL cholesterol, 10 percent had high total cholesterol, and 1 percent qualified for statin treatment.

Researchers say that the current high cholesterol levels in our nationís children will affect the future rates of cardiovascular disease among U.S. adults. The American Heart Association recommends lifestyle changes, such as increased exercise and healthier eating, as the first line of treatment for children who have high cholesterol.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Iím Dr. Edward Hill.