Preventive Cardiology Clinic | Frequently Asked Questions

What Is High Cholesterol?

Cholesterol occurs naturally in our bodies but at times certain types of cholesterol in the body may become abnormal: LDL (bad) cholesterol, HDL (good) cholesterol, and//or triglycerides. High cholesterol that builds up in the arteries and prevents the transport of blood and oxygen throughout the body is called atherosclerosis. Other conditions, such as high blood pressure and diabetes, also contribute to this process. Additional risk factors for atherosclerosis include obesity, smoking, and/or having a family history of cardiovascular disease. We will discuss your child’s risk factors, if any, including family history at your visit.

How is High Cholesterol in children treated?

High cholesterol levels in children can be lowered by eating a heart healthy rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, consisting of lean proteins, unprocessed foods, and heart healthy fats. High cholesterol can also be treated by getting regular exercise. In some circumstances medication may be recommended to lower cholesterol in children, although this is rarely prescribed at the first visit.

What is Hypertension?

Blood pressure is the pressure exerted on your blood vessel walls by the pumping of the heart. ‘Hypertension’ describes blood pressure elevated above the normal range, which in children depends on their age, relative height and gender. Over time, consistently elevated blood pressure can damage blood vessels and vital organs such as the kidneys, brain and heart. It's also a major risk factor for heart attack and stroke. Elevated blood pressure can be dangerous at any age. Early intervention may help prevent cardiac-related symptoms now—as well as heart disease in the future.

What causes Hypertension in children?

The majority of adolescents and children with hypertension over 6 years of age have a family history of obesity, are overweight or obese themselves, or both. Many may also have a family history of hypertension. Some children may have underlying medical conditions that cause hypertension, such as kidney disease, disorders of the endocrine system or blood vessel abnormalities. More commonly, underlying medical conditions are the cause of hypertension in infants and young children. Some children may have no outwardly apparent reason for high blood pressure; this is known as “essential” hypertension.

How is Hypertension in children treated?

If your child has hypertension, the Preventive Cardiology team will develop a plan that involves a combination of healthy eating, exercise, medication in some cases, and routine monitoring.