Abnormal cholesterol and high blood pressure not only occur in adults, but also in children. Improving cholesterol and blood pressure during childhood helps reduce cardiovascular disease later in life.
For more than 30 years, the Preventive Cardiology Clinic at Boston Children’s Hospital has offered state-of-the-art services aimed at identifying and medically managing the risk factors—particularly abnormal cholesterol and blood pressure often related to excess weight—that lead to cardiac events in adulthood. We're the first and largest clinical service of this kind in the Northeast—highly experienced in evaluating and treating heart disease risk factors in children.
We take a multidisciplinary, team approach to managing the young patients who come to our clinic. Our providers include clinicians specializing in pediatric cardiology and heart disease prevention, endocrinology, gastroenterology and primary care, as well as dieticians experienced in pediatric hyperlipidemia and hypertension.
After a thorough health evaluation, the clinic medical staff will develop a comprehensive plan for your child based on the causes underlying his or her abnormal cholesterol or blood pressure. For some, the plan includes a weight-loss component that incorporates heart healthy eating and exercise. In many children, when weight comes down, so does bad cholesterol and blood pressure. In addition to diet and exercise planning, the clinic offers long-term follow-up and routine monitoring of cholesterol levels, triglycerides, blood pressure and other important health indicators.
Successful treatment usually involves a lifetime commitment to healthy eating habits and exercise. In some cases, cholesterol-lowering medications or other medications for secondary illnesses may be incorporated. In children without a secondary illness, treatment with medication is typically secondary to making important lifestyle changes that will reduce your child’s risk for atherosclerosis while increasing stamina and helping him or her feel healthier and leaner.
The best approach is to make family-wide changes in eating and exercise. This makes change easier for your child; and often, multiple members of the family can benefit from making healthy changes, too. Changing the lifestyle of your family can be challenging. Rest assured that although there are no magic bullets, the clinicians, nurses and nutritionists at Boston Children’s Hospital have lots of experience helping thousands of parents facing the same challenges, and will offer strategies that have helped many other children and teens stick with the program.