The American Academy of Pediatrics estimate that under the current guidelines, 30 to 60 percent of children with high cholesterol are flying under the radar. AAP’s newest guidelines now recommend cholesterol screenings for children and adolescents, beginning as early as 2 years old and no later than the age of 10, especially if there is familial history of hypercholesterolimia or heart attacks prior to age 55 for men and 65 for women. Cholesterol screenings are also recommended for those children who do not know their family medical history, or have additional cardiovascular risk factors such as hypertension, obesity or diabetes. With normal testing results, cholesterol retesting is recommended in three to five years. Another recent study of 249 teenagers found that 80 percent had an unhealthy buildup of cholesterol on artery walls, often the result of eating high-fat foods.
Dr. Alan Lewis, MD, of the Heart Institute at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, notes, “In
a study of adolescents published in circulation 2004, investigators in Boston found elevated triglycerides in nearly 30% with low HDL>40%. Familial hypercholesterolemia, an inherited disorder present in 1:500 in the general population, is a major risk factor for premature coronary heart disease. Thus, screening programs such as those implemented by The Chad Foundation can have a significant impact on detecting important cardiovascular risk factors in otherwise healthy young people.” The American Heart Association says, “Public screenings have the potential to detect large numbers of people with high cholesterol levels besides those detected in a physician’s office.” The AHA also believes that the High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol as well as the Total Cholesterol should be tested. The Chad Foundation utilizes the Lipid Panel in its screenings as it includes tests for HDL, LDL, Total Cholesterol and Triglycerides and will give an accurate picture of the student’s entire cholesterol profile with a simple finger stick. Screening for Total Cholesterol levels only may skew the results, i. e, high levels of HDL, (considered the good cholesterol) is a positive factor because high levels of HDL can actually reduce your risk of heart disease.