Cholesterol in children has become an increasing problem in recent years with the spread of wrong eating habits. So what are the symptoms of cholesterol in children and what should you do to prevent it? We told you what you need to know!
What is cholesterol?
Cholesterol, a waxy substance, is a type of fat produced in the liver. This oil is used as a building block in the formation of body cell membranes and hormones. LDL is generally known as “bad cholesterol” and HDL is known as “good cholesterol”.
What causes cholesterol in children?
- Nutrition (Especially a diet rich in saturated fats and trans fatty acids such as pastries, fast food and junk food),
- Genetic factors (Family high cholesterol),
- Obesity is among the top three causes of cholesterol in children.
The increasing wrong eating habits, especially among children, cause irregularity in blood fat. According to health studies, high cholesterol levels in children return to normal levels in later ages. However, since high cholesterol level carries the risk of heart disease, it is still necessary to protect the child from cholesterol.
Although there is a thought that thin people cannot have high cholesterol, it is not correct to directly associate cholesterol with weight. Thin people can also suffer from cholesterol. Most of the bad cholesterol, LDL, is related to liver metabolism.
Cholesterol symptoms in children
Assoc. Dr. Çiğdem Arıkan says that cholesterol in children does not show any external symptoms. If there are premature deaths due to heart diseases in the family history, extending to first and second degree cousins, the cholesterol values of the child should definitely be checked.
Apart from that, yellow and orange spots around the eyes, on the bends of the arms and on the elbows are among the symptoms of high cholesterol.
As a precautionary measure, it is useful to measure blood cholesterol levels of each child between the ages of 9-11 and 17-21 at least once. In children with risk factors, blood cholesterol levels should be monitored between the ages of 2-8 and 12-16.
How much cholesterol should children have?
People between the ages of 2-19 have a certain cholesterol limit. Cholesterol values between 170 mg-dl are considered normal in children. The limit value is accepted as 170-199. Values above 200 indicate that the child has high cholesterol. Controlling high cholesterol in childhood is important to prevent future cardiovascular diseases.
High triglyceride levels in children are considered as a first-degree risk factor for the development of heart diseases. Cholesterol measurement is done with a blood test. When you are going to have a cholesterol measurement, your child must not eat anything for at least 12 hours, if the hunger situation is not followed, the cholesterol level cannot be measured in a healthy way.
If your child has high cholesterol, devices that measure cholesterol at home are very practical in this regard.
How is cholesterol passed in children?
Age-appropriate healthy diet and physical activities constitute the main part of cholesterol treatment in children. Increasing the physical activity of children and encouraging them to do regular sports are of great importance in treatment. In children older than 10 years of age, whose cholesterol persists despite diet and exercise, drug therapy is administered.
Let’s talk about what untreated high cholesterol does in the body. Bad cholesterol accumulating in the blood settles on the vessel walls and causes vascular occlusion and leads to heart disease. Higher-than-normal cholesterol levels can combine with certain substances in the gallbladder and lead to the formation of gallstones.
What are the ways to prevent cholesterol in children?
child with cholesterol;
- Eat a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
- For protein, eat lean meat, skinless poultry, fish and legumes.
- Consume non-fat or low-fat dairy products.
- Use olive oil instead of margarine.
- Do not consume foods and drinks with added sugar.
- Do one of the activities such as walking, cycling, jogging and swimming for at least 1 hour a day.