Doctors: Cholesterol Screening Should Start at Age 9

Doctors suggest that kids should be tested for high cholesterol as early as age 9 for easier tracing of diseases that are more common in middle age. This advice certainly will be a surprising and debatable one for parents.

Many doctors say that waiting until later may be too late for children who already have hidden health risks. Fat deposits that form in the heart arteries in childhood don’t usually harden and cause serious symptoms until later in life. But the expert health panel encourages cholesterol screening between ages 9 and 11 — before puberty, when cholesterol temporarily dips — and again between ages 17 and 21.

The panel also recommends diabetes screening every two years as early as 9 for overweight children and those who have other risks for Type 2 diabetes. The new guidelines came from an expert panel appointed by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics. [Read more…]