As younger kids get fatter, the drugs that treat their adult counterparts are being recommended for children.
Children as young as eight, should be prescribed cholesterol-lowering drugs, according to new guidelines issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). The group recommends the drugs if dietary alterations fail.
High amounts of bad cholesterol can raise the risk of heart disease in adults. The AAP recommends routine cholesterol screening for overweight kids to determine the good and bad cholesterol levels (HDL/ LDL).
Drugs should be taken to reduce bad or low-density lipoproteins, or bad cholesterol.
The new guidelines replace the old ones that said children older than 10 be given drugs if they tried and failed to lose weight.
About one-third of American children are overweight making them susceptible to higher rates of heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure according to the AAP.
The increase in obesity among children has been called an “epidemic” as are the corresponding health problems.
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death among Americans. In adults, CVD risk factors include a high concentration of low-density lipoprotein (LDL or bad cholesterol) and a low concentration of high-density lipoprotein (HDL or good cholesterol).
Researchers believe that children and adolescents may exhibit these risk factors at a young age.
In fact, a study of children who died between the ages of 15 to 34 of accidental causes, called Pathobiological Determinates of Atherosclerosis in Youth (PDAY) found that the young people exhibited concentrations of cholesterol, fatty streaks and fibrous plaques, early signs of elevated cholesterol, and high blood pressure.
Kids who are overweight or obese with a high triglyceride concentration or low HDL concentration should lose weight through diet management, nutritional counseling and increased physical activity.
Children age eight and younger with a LDL concentration of≥190 mg/dL (or 160 mg/dL with a familhy history of early heart disease or two additional risk factors present or 130 mg/dL if diabetes mellitus is present), should be considered to be candidates for cholesterol lowering medication, according to the AAP. #