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Cholesterol is a waxy, fatlike substance that can be found in all parts of the body. The cholesterol in your child’s blood comes from two sources:
While the body needs cholesterol to produce of cell membranes, some hormones and vitamin D, your child's liver makes sufficient amounts of cholesterol for this. Too much cholesterol may lead to excess being deposited in the arteries, which can lead to heart disease.
Cholesterol and other fats are transported through the blood stream in the form of particles called lipoproteins. The two most common lipoproteins are low-density lipoproteins (LDL) and high-density lipoproteins (HDL).
There are some types of high cholesterol that can be due to genetic disorders. Examples include elevated lipoprotein(a) and Lipoproteinlilpase deficiency.
This type of cholesterol is commonly called "bad" cholesterol. It can contribute to the formation of plaque build-up in the arteries, known as atherosclerosis. Lower LDL levels protect against heart disease. Familial hypercholesterolemia is a genetic cause of high LDL.
This type of cholesterol is known as “good” cholesterol. It’s a type of fat in the blood that helps to remove LDL cholesterol from the blood, preventing the fatty build up and formation of plaque. Higher HDL levels generally protect against heart disease.
Triglycerides are another class of fat found in the bloodstream, and they make up the bulk of your child’s fat tissue. Some studies have shown a link between triglycerides and heart disease but other data in adults is less clear. Many children and adolescents with high triglyceride levels also have other risk factors, such as high LDL levels or low HDL levels, or carry excess weight. Rarely, very high triglyceride levels are seen in children with genetic lipid disorders such as lipoprotein lipase deficiency.
We are grateful to have been ranked #1 on U.S. News & World Report's list of the best children's hospitals in the nation for the third year in a row, an honor we could not have achieved without the patients and families who inspire us to do our very best for them. Thanks to you, Boston Children's is a place where we can write the greatest children's stories ever told.”