High cholesterol levels are not just for adults. A lot of people do not realize that issues with high cholesterol levels can start in childhood. This increases the risk of a child for health issues related to cholesterol.
The liver makes the cholesterol the body of your child needs. He also gets cholesterol from the food he eats including animal products like dairy products, meats, and eggs.
Risks of High Cholesterol Level
The body of a child needs cholesterol to protect his nerves, produce some hormones, and make cell tissues. However, too much cholesterol causes damages to the blood vessels. Cholesterol builds up along the walls of blood vessels and forms plaque. According to some studies, this plaque can start to form in childhood.
High cholesterol levels increase the risk of a child of stroke and heart attack if he gets older. The risk for heart disease is higher in those who have diabetes, a family history of diabetes, and unhealthy eating habits as well as are obese or overweight or who smoke. And unless your child is diabetic or has a history of high cholesterol, he may not be tested for high cholesterol.
Good and Bad Cholesterol
- Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. This is called bad cholesterol which delivers cholesterol to the body. The body of a number of people make too much of this cholesterol. Also, the levels of LDL are increased if a person consumes foods that are high in saturated fat, dietary cholesterol, and trans fat.
- High-density lipoproteins (HDL) cholesterol. This is known as good cholesterol which eliminates cholesterol from the blood. Maintaining a healthy level of HDL is likely to help in protecting against heart disease. To increase the amount of this cholesterol in the body, it is important to exercise. Also, it can help to avoid trans fats and follow a healthy diet to increase the levels of HDL.
In case the total cholesterol level of a person is high due to a high LDL level, there is a high risk for of stroke and heart disease. However, if the total cholesterol level of the person is high due to a high HDL level, there may not be an increase of the risk.
What to Do to Prevent High Cholesterol Levels in Children
Parents must help their kids maintain a healthy weight by teaching them to be physically active and make healthy food choices. Here are some helpful tips for parents.
- Give your child a minimum of five servings of vegetables and fruits every day. For instance, let your child get healthy snacks like bananas, celery, carrots, and apples.
- Add plenty of vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat proteins in the meal that you prepare for your child.
- Stay away from fast-food dining. You cannot be sure your child gets healthy food choices in fast-food restaurants. So Independent Pharmacy Distributor, a pharmaceutical wholesaler in North Carolina, suggests ensuring he gets the nutrients his body needs every day, choose to give your child meals you make at home.
- Limit the time of your child to use a computer, TV, game station, and cell phone to not more than one to two hours per day. It makes sense to set a good example so consider limiting your own screen time.
- Let everybody in the family take part in physical activities. You can ask your family members to do chores, ride the bike, and take a walk together. Also, think about planning active family outings.
Will your Child Need Medicines to Lower his Cholesterol Levels?
Usually, physical activity and healthy eating are what it takes to lower the high cholesterol levels of a child. If exercise and healthier eating do not help, it is likely that your family physician prescribes a medicine which lowers cholesterol. Such kind of medicine may be needed when your child is obese or overweight or has diabetes. And because not all medications are safe for the kid, never give your kid a cholesterol-lowering medication which is not prescribed specifically for him.