High cholesterol in children: causes, values ​​and how to prevent it

High cholesterol in children

It is common to associate high cholesterol with a problem of young people and adults. In fact, more of adults than of young people. Although in recent years high cholesterol has also become a serious problem for the smallest of the house, becoming a real concern for doctors, parents and the various health authorities.

Without a doubt, childhood is one of the best moments to acquire good and healthy life habits, although there are more and more children that, at very young ages, suffer from high cholesterol , so that the infantile cholesterol It has become a real "epidemic."

However, it is necessary to indicate that having the high cholesterol In the first stage of life does not come to be synonymous with high cholesterol will always suffer, but we must learn to avoid the different cardiovascular risks early, and especially teach our children good eating habits.

Cholesterol is a substance that the body needs for normal functioning, being essential for life, since it is part of the cell membrane, many hormones that regulate the functioning of the body, and also bile acids that are part of the bile.

As is also known, children do not have heart attacks, so the concern that they have the high cholesterol it derives from the possibility that it remains elevated when they are adults, in such a way that their cardiovascular risk increases.

At least for now, there is no evidence that high cholesterol levels in childhood can mean that high cholesterol will be reached in adulthood, since the cholesterol can be lowered if the diet and the different eating habits are modified.

The issue in these cases is to try to gradually modify the diet in children, especially in those where cholesterol is high, and it is known that they eat many sweets, sweets, and high-fat foods every day.

Junk food and high cholesterol in children

Cholesterol in children: normal and high values

In this sense, we should not confuse the cholesterol in its normal levels with the levels in themselves high, since this is a substance that the body needs for its normal functioning, being precisely essential for life.

However, when these figures surpass normal levels, it is when it can become a serious health problem.

When they have diagnosed hypercholesterolemia to the child, you should try to investigate and discover if the food we are giving you is appropriate for your age, and if in fact it is as healthy or healthy as we really want it to be.

At this point we should not be confused with the familial hypercholesterolemia , an elevation of the cholesterol produced by the genes, and that usually tends to appear more in the adolescent or juvenile stage.

Levels of cholesterol in children

Classification Total cholesterol Low density lipoproteins (LDL cholesterol)
Limit 170-199 mg / dl 110-129 mg / dl
High > 200 mg / dl > 130 mg / dl

In addition, it is advisable to maintain the following values ​​of cholesterol and triglycerides:

  • LDL cholesterol: Less than 110 mg / dl.
  • HDL cholesterol: Greater than 45 mg / dl.
  • Total cholesterol: Less than 170 mg / dl.
  • Triglycerides: Less than 75 mg / dl in children up to 9 years old. Less than 90 mg / dl in children between 10 to 19 years old.

Causes of high infant cholesterol

When children should be tested for blood, and particularly cholesterol?

There is no clarity regarding the age from which it is advisable for children to begin routine blood tests. There are pediatricians who advise it before, and those who recommend it a lot later. In addition, everything depends on whether there may be any disorder or condition that advises its implementation.

Be that as it may, many specialists advise to perform the first blood test to know blood cholesterol levels between 9 to 11 years of age . If the values ​​are normal, it is recommended to do it again between the ages of 16 and 17.

But if there is a history of cholesterol in the family , especially the one known as genetic cholesterol, it is advisable to carry out the first analysis of blood cholesterol between 2 and 8 years , and the second one at 12 years of age regardless of the result of the test.

In addition, there are certain indicators that can alert the pediatrician that the child may have high blood cholesterol:

  • If the child has high blood pressure or diabetes.
  • If the child is overweight or obese.
  • If the parents or a close relative has total cholesterol above 240 mg / dl.
  • If there is a family history of cardiovascular diseases and pathologies.

Prevention of high cholesterol in children

How to prevent high cholesterol in children and tools to reduce it

There are some simple and easy to follow tips that can help prevent children from having high blood cholesterol levels. In addition, the truth is that they are ideal tricks also to download it:

  • Vegetables and fruits are essential: Each day it is advised that the child eats at least 100 to 150 grams of fresh vegetables and at least 1 piece of fruit.
  • High fiber foods are recommended: Instead of foods with refined flours. Whole grains are ideal, trying to substitute typical breakfast cereals (rich in sugars) for healthier options like oats.
  • Eliminates trans and saturated fats from your diet: It is vitally important that children do not eat foods rich in saturated fats or trans fats. For this it is essential that you always read the labels of all the food you buy. And how to find them in the labeling? In the list of ingredients you will find if the product contains "hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated fats". However, you will basically find them in products such as industrial bakery, fast food, salty snacks and snacks, precooked products and popcorn.
  • Reduce, limit or eliminate sugar-rich foods and beverages : In particular, soft drinks and packaged fruit juices (those freshly made at home are better, if possible with slow extraction).

On the other hand, it is also advisable that the little one practice physical exercise , either in school or in extracurricular activities, and above all avoid spending a lot of time sitting in front of the television or computer.

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