Think back to when you were 8 years old — a time when going to school and hanging out with friends was top priority. Now, fast forward to 2011, times have changed. “I just saw a family yesterday and lifestyle changes were not adequate and the child was placed on statinatian to lower cholesterol,” says Dr. Cayce Jehaimi, a pediatric endocrinologist on the medical staff of Lee Memorial Health System.
Recently, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended wider cholesterol testing for kids. “There’s other studies including post-mortum studies that looked into young teenagers with evidence of arthrosclerotic plaques in their vessels correlating with their body mass index,” he adds.
Dr. Jehaimi says childhood obesity has become so prevalent that young bodies have become more vulnerable to heart disease and even diabetes. “Changes on the vessel wall in addition to other problems in the body does place younger than we think. If things go uncontrolled for a number of years, the damage can be present and sometimes irreversible.”
He advocates parents to adopt early lifestyle habits to ward off any need for cholesterol medication. “Just like basically a car. If you don’t maintain in on a regular basis, you’ll have issues with the mechanical parts over time.”
Before prescribing any sort of medication, Dr. Jehaimi will first talk to the family about adopting healthy lifestyle changes. In certain situations, cholesterol medication is essential to reduce the risk of heart-related problems.