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Adolescent Blood Cholesterol

1.      Introduction

Sometimes high cholesterol levels are found in children and teenagers.

It is usually a condition that runs in families (genetic condition) and is called Familial hypercholesterolemia.

You may feel well and not realize you have this condition until you do a blood cholesterol test.

It is important you do a blood cholesterol test if:

  • Your family members have high cholesterol or heart disease

As you grow older, a high blood cholesterol level could cause:

  • Heart attack
  • Stroke

2.      How is the test done?

There are two ways the test can be done.

  • A small needle prick at the tip of your finger will draw a drop of blood. This drop is placed on a strip of special paper and inserted into a small machine. Within a minute or two you will have the result
  • A larger needle inserted into a blood vessel in your arm will draw a few milliliters (a teaspoon) of blood. This is sent in a bottle to a laboratory. You can get the result a few days later

3.      When can you do the test?

You can take the test at any time of the day at your convenience. It can be done before or after a meal.

If your parents have high cholesterol or heart disease, you can get the test done at:

  • A clinic near your home
  • Any government health centre
  • A private laboratory

 

4.      What is a bad result?

Total Cholesterol level is measured in millimols per liter or in short mmol/l:

  • lf below 5.2 mmol/l it means your levels are in the safe range
  • If between 5.2 and 7.5 mmol/l, it means your levels are high and you need to bring them down
  • If above 7.5 mmol/l, it is very high and means you may have the condition called Familial hypercholesterolemia

When your Total Cholesterol level is high, your doctor will order another test called Fasting lipid profile. This will give more details of the different kinds of fats in your blood.

 

5.      What do you do if you have a high cholesterol level?

It is important to bring your cholesterol level down to a safer level. This can be achieved by:

  • Changing what you eat to low fat foods
  • Starting a Daily exercise program
  • Making sure your body weight is in the Ideal range
  • Meeting your doctor regularly. He will check your blood Fasting lipid profile regularly and may advise you to take medicines to bring your blood cholesterol level down

Last Reviewed : 27 April 2012
Content Writer : Dr. Kauthaman a/l Mahendran
Reviewer : Dr. Thiyagar Nadarajaw