UW Health sees uptick in kids with high cholesterol
MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Although high cholesterol is something that many people associate with older adults, UW Health said high numbers are impacting kids as well.
Recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed that as many as one in five kids has an abnormal cholesterol count, and UW Health says a quick screening could prevent suffering.
Associate Professor of Pediatrics Amy Peterson said while some kids inherit a genetic condition that causes high cholesterol, others develop it, and there are engaging ways to address the high numbers.
“The really lovely part about that type of high cholesterol is it really responds beautifully to lifestyle changes a lot of the time, which is wonderful to see,” Peterson said. “Kids will come back, and they’ll be so proud, you know that their numbers got better through changing their lifestyle. You know it can be related to obviously our inheritance but also the types of foods that we’re eating and the amount of exercise that we’re able to get and those sorts of things.”
Peterson said more often than not kids won’t show any symptoms, and an imbalance can only be detected through a screening.
“The one that we are the most interested in finding in children are those inherited forms of high cholesterol that children are born with and you feel fine.,” she said. “Children walk into my clinic, and they feel great and they have energy and they ask their mom and dad ‘Why am I in a doctor’s office?’ and the reason is because they inherited a form of high cholesterol that we know if we ignore it and do nothing, is gonna cause problems later on in life. And those are the kids that the screening is really important to find because they will otherwise be completely fine and have no problems at all.”
Peterson said more children are coming into their clinic with high cholesterol following the COVID-19 pandemic. She attributes this to lack of exercise and unhealthy eating habits.
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