How should high cholesterol in children be treated?

Answer From Ana Creo, M.D.

The first treatment approach for high cholesterol in children involves lifestyle changes that can benefit the entire family: Maintain a healthy weight, eat healthy foods, and get enough physical activity.

Avoid processed foods that contain large amounts of saturated fats, trans fats and sugars. Be more active throughout the day and minimize the amount of time spent in front of computers, tablets, televisions and phones.

Sometimes thyroid disease, liver disease, kidney disease or medications can cause high cholesterol in children. Your health care provider may suggest tests to look for these conditions.

Your health care provider might suggest cholesterol medications if your child continues to have high cholesterol despite lifestyle changes and has other health problems, such as:

  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • A genetic type of high cholesterol
  • A family history of early heart disease
  • Elevated BMI

It’s important to reduce high cholesterol in children because the condition can lead to narrowed and hardened arteries, increasing the risk of heart disease later in life.