Adolescents should come in for a routine checkup, especially if the parents have had cardiovascular disease before the age of 55. High cholesterol in children also plays a big factor in the child’s development to a heart-healthy lifestyle. The National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) recommends the selective screening of children and adolescents, targeting those who would be at the highest risk of developing high cholesterol and cardiovascular disease later in life. Screening is recommended for children over two years of age and adolescents whose parents or grandparents had cardiovascular disease before the age of 55. In addition, testing is also advised for children whose parents have cholesterol levels greater than 240 mg/dL. NCEP classifies a high cholesterol as having a total cholesterol of over 200 mg mg/dl or low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL) above 130 mg/dl
The initial treatment of high cholesterol involves diet with institutions of the American Heart Association Step 1 diet, which consists of less than 10% of total calories from fat, and less than 300 mg of cholesterol per day. If the lipid goals are not achieved, the Step 2 diet is instituted. At this stage, a dietitian may be helpful in developing good diet strategies. Regular exercise is also recommended.