According to Fox News, for the first time, an influential doctors group is recommending that some children as young as 8 be given cholesterol-fighting drugs to ward off future heart problems. It is the strongest guidance ever given by the American Academy of Pediatrics, which released its new guidelines Monday.
This overdue advice is based upon a growing body of evidence showing that the roots of heart disease, the nation’s leading killer, begins early in life. Add to that significant recent research which has shown that cholesterol-fighting drugs are safe for children.
The AAP now recommends that drug treatment generally should be targeted for kids at least 8 years old who have a high level of LDL (the “lethal” or “bad” cholesterol) along with other risky conditions, including obesity and high blood pressure.
And, the AAP recommends physicians now routinely check the cholesterol of children with a family history of inherited cholesterol disease or with parents or grandparents who developed heart disease at an early age. In addition, the recommendations say, screening is advised for kids whose family history isn’t known and those who are overweight, obese or have other heart disease risk factors.
Screening is recommended sometime after age 2 but no later than age 10, at routine checkups.
The guidelines appear in the July edition of Pediatrics.