Kids Health may Predict Future Problems for Parents
A new study has found that parents who have children with high blood pressure or high cholesterol levels are at a greater risk of developing heart disease and diabetes. The study found that by measuring the blood pressure, cholesterol levels and weight of a 12 year old helped to predict the risks of their parent developing diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease over the next 30 years. The researchers say these findings suggest that by screening kids health the parents health risks are being exposed.
Many parents may not visit their doctor for a medical check-up but they will take their children on regular visits to the doctor. It is also normal practice for children to have their blood pressure and weight measured during regular visits to the paediatrician.
But it is only more recently that experts recommended carrying out cholesterol checks. This was a change from what was initially recommended which was carrying out screening in particular children who had a family history of diabetes or heart disease. The American Academy of Paediatrics has endorsed measuring cholesterol levels when a child is between 9 and 11 and measure again when they are between 17 and 21.
A study that had been carried out involved 852 students who at the average age of 12 years old had their weight, blood pressure, cholesterol and triglycerides measured. They were reassessed again twenty six years later along with their parents who were on average 66 years of age.
In 47% of the families assessed one parent had suffered from a stroke or a heart attack and also required to have blocked heart arteries cleared out by the end of the study period. In 37% of the cases a parent had developed diabetes.
When the kids health shows high levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol or triglycerides the risks to the parents of suffering from cardiovascular disease at any age are increased. Parents of children who were overweight were also at an increased risk of developing high blood pressure or diabetes.
It appears that carrying out screening to determine kids health risks may help in prevention of the development of particular diseases. But at present there is no firm evidence that the screening of children will reduce their risks of developing cardiovascular disease or diabetes. To gather this information would be very difficult as the researchers would have to assess large groups of children who had been screened for many years into their adulthood and then carry out a comparison with a group of children who declined the screening.
According to reports it appears that this type of study would not be carried out because of the costs of screening. Should a child be put on a statin to lower their cholesterol level there is no information available on what possible side effects that could affect the kids health.
Most children who suffer with high cholesterol levels could lower their levels by changing to a healthier diet. In the United States it is estimated that approximately 20 children out of 300 may have high cholesterol levels that is connected to their lifestyle and diet.
There is a smaller amount of children who have inherited high cholesterol levels. This is known as familial hypercholesterolemia and causes high LDL levels to begin when they are young. This may lead to heart disease developing at aged 40 or 50. If there is a family risk it may be for the sake of the kids health they are prescribed statins to take.