There are raising cases of children with high cholesterol, we take a look at what it and what can be done.
What is high cholesterol?
When you have excess amount of cholesterol in the blood, you have high cholesterol. There are multiple factors that can influence cholesterol level, these includes gene, lifestyles and diseases, these will potentially increase the risk of heart attack and stroke. What happens is that the excessive amount of cholesterol if not metabolized by the liver, will form a layer of plaque on the walls of arteries. These will eventually stop or slowed the flow of blood to the brain, heart and other organs.
What is the purpose of cholesterol?
Cholesterol is essential to the creation of hormones and cells, and produced by our body. It is also found in animal product such as eggs, fishes and dairy products. Cholesterol is important to our bodily functions, but it is dangerous to have to much of it and too little of it poses other issues too. So it is better to have a balance level of cholesterol.
Children cholesterol level are measured differently from that of an adult. For age 2 to 19 years old, total cholesterol level should be under 170 with LDL cholesterol below 100. Total cholesterol at 170 to 200 and LDL between 100 and 130 is considered borderline risk. For children with cholesterol of more then 200 level and LDL level of more then 130 are considered high risk, more so for girls with HDL levels of under 50 and boys at levels below 45. Children with LDL levels over 100 will most likely be treated for high cholesterol especially if they have a family history of heart problems, more so if the child have previous heart problems.
Treatment for Children
There are 2 main reasons why children with high cholesterol need to be treated. Plaque can build up as long as the LDL level is excessive despite the age, so damage to the arteries can starts even when they are young, these build up will pose a greater risk when they grow up as LDL find these the easier spot to start building up. Secondly, the good lifestyle habit can be build up to help them protect themselves against high cholesterol level when they are adult.
What are the treatments?
Dietary change is the prime consideration for children with high cholesterol. Healthy dietary changes can benefit not just the child with high cholesterol but the whole family too. Fat intake should be limited to below 30% of the calories a day. Calories count should be between 1500 and 2400 per day, depending on child’s age and activity levels. Reduced the saturated fats intake, choose lean cut meats and low fat dairy products and healthier cooking oil. Children need fat as part of brain formation, so don’t remove fat from diet completely. Fiber intake should be increase to about 25 grams per day from the consumption of whole grains, vegetables and cereals. Avoid sugar rich snacks like candy bar and sodas.
The dietary change will be most meaningful if the entire family takes part in it. Firstly the child will learn quickly from example set by their parents and most importantly, they will not feel single out. Make these healthy diet as appealing as possible. Allowing kids to plan and prepare the meal will help them eat what were planned more easily. Encourage outdoor activities on a hourly a day basis. However, be realistic too, there is no way to avoid completely video game and candy in our modern society today. Moderation is the key to healthy and happy children.