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Journal of Clinical Lipidology
Year: 2008  |  Volume: 2  |  Issue: 3  |  Page No.: 138 - 146

Elevated atherogenic lipoproteins in childhood: Risk, prevention, and treatment

Brian W. McCrindle and Cedric Manlhiot    

Abstract: Elevated low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) level in childhood is an increasing problem, mainly due to a rising prevalence secondary to the childhood obesity epidemic and better recognition and screening. Vascular changes and impaired endothelial function associated with elevated LDL-C are apparent even in early childhood. Secondary adiposity-related cases are at higher risk due to the clustering of risk factors besides overweight, such as the atherogenic lipid triad, change in the atherogenic properties of the LDL-C particle itself, and the presence of insulin resistance. Prevention should focus on maintaining a healthy lifestyle, including a restricted fat and cholesterol diet, encouraging physical activity, and decreasing sedentary pursuits to maintain an appropriate weight in children. For children and adolescents found to have elevated LDL-C, management should focus on the pursuit of a healthy lifestyle mirroring that for prevention for at least 6 months. Additional dietary therapy, such as plant stanol and sterol esters, have also been shown to modestly reduce LDL-C levels. If the adoption of a healthy lifestyle is not sufficient to reduce LDL-C, lipid-lowering drugs should be considered in selected patients. Current drugs of choice are statins and potentially ezetimibe. Long-term treatment with statins has been shown to markedly reduce carotid intima-media thickness in children and adolescents, particularly when started early. Current evidence supports early and efficient treatment for affected children.

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