High Triglycerides in Children

Researchers have found that many pediatricians may address elevated cholesterol in children but fail to diagnose their high triglyceride levels; therefore they are left untreated and unprotected for heart disease and heart attacks as adults. A study that was published in the Family Practice News revealed the affects of high triglycerides and adult heart disease by studying 808 children for thirty-one years.

The results of the study showed those that had high triglyceride levels as children had a considerably higher risk of developing heart disease as an adult and the risk looked as if it was directly relative to how high the triglyceride levels were during their preadolescent years.

The importance to this study demonstrated that a pediatrician should focus on children's triglycerides as much as they diagnose and treat them for elevated cholesterol levels. As this study detailed, predicting future heart disease was determined by high triglycerides levels which outweighed elevated cholesterol levels. Researchers also found that children who were overweight were more likely to develop heart disease as an adult.

High Triglyceride levels in children are determined by a simple blood test. Normal levels in children are less than 150mg/dl. Treating children is determined by how high the triglyceride levels are; as some children may need medication, while others can lower their levels merely by addressing their lifestyle. Limiting carbohydrates such as white flour, rice, potatoes and pasta as well as sugar will have an effect on reducing triglyceride levels as well as helping those children that are overweight. One of the best to ways to lower levels would be to increase the child's omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids have many potential beneficial effects including improving cognitive function in developing children as well as decreasing triglycerides, lowering blood pressure, reducing blood clotting and enhancing immune function. However, the strongest benefit from omega-3 fatty acids is reducing the risk of heart disease, heart attacks and sudden cardiac deaths.

Fish that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids include salmon, herring, and tuna. Two three-ounce servings per week are required to get the most benefit. Due to their high susceptibility to toxins found in fish it is recommends that children, as well as women of childbearing age, should limit the amount of canned tuna to 6 ounces per week and limit other fish eaten to a maximum of 12 ounces a week. In addition, they should avoid eating certain fish like shark and swordfish altogether.

If your child doesn't like to eat fish try an omega-3 supplement, but with any supplement contact your pediatrician as he may want to recommend as certain dosage and monitor your child, depending on the child's age. The child needs to be tested annually until his/her levels fall in the normal range. If there is no improvement medication may be necessary.

Exercise is another way to reduce triglycerides as some pediatricians will recommend some form of cardio for at least an hour a day 2 -3 times per week. If your child is overweight and has high triglycerides they could also suffer from certain adult diseases which include; type 2 diabetes mellitus, asthma, sleep apnea, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, osteoarthritis, cancer, depression, and other psychosocial disorders. Obesity can also cause joint problems, early onset puberty in females, and the opposite in males. That's why it is important to get elevated triglyceride levels as well as obesity in children under control and checked by a pediatrician. By taking action and making lifestyle changes, we can insure our children live a long and healthy life.