Pediatrics - High Cholesterol Treatment
The goal of treatment for high cholesterol is to lower cholesterol levels into the healthy ranges to reduce the risk of heart disease. High cholesterol is treated with lifestyle changes, special diets, and medications. Your doctor will make specific recommendations for your child based on the results of your child’s lipid profile.
Your child should make lifestyle changes to reduce the risk factors that can be controlled. This includes not smoking, losing weight, maintaining a healthy weight, and exercising regularly. Exercise can help raise HDL and lower LDL.
Your child should eat a low fat, low cholesterol, high fiber diet. The National Cholesterol Education Program, a division of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, has eating guidelines for people with high cholesterol. The American Heart Association’s Cholesterol Low Down is another good resource for eating and exercise guidelines. Your doctor may make specific recommendations or refer you to a nutritionist for healthy meal planning.
If lifestyle and dietary changes alone do not lower your child’s cholesterol into healthy ranges, your doctor will prescribe cholesterol lowering medications. There are several types of prescription medications that work in different ways to lower cholesterol. It is common to use more than one type of medication and for medications to change over time.
After a high cholesterol diagnosis is made, your child will receive regular monitoring by your doctor. Your doctor will evaluate your child’s cholesterol levels, the effectiveness of medications, and check for any medication side effects (some medications may affect liver function). It is important that medications are taken per your doctor’s instructions and that you make and keep all of your child’s follow up appointments.
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