High cholesterol isn't a problem reserved for adults.
Doctors say children as young as 5-years-old can be develop high cholesterol.
You may have passed it down to your kids.
When 9-year-old Arnav Rana was diagnosed with high cholesterol at age 8, his parents say they were shocked.
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Arnav is very active, rides his bike to school every day, hikes, plays soccer and swims daily.
He also eats healthy foods, but his condition didn't come from his lifestyle.
His mother, Sangita, says Arnav's father was diagnosed with high cholesterol at age 28 and had his first heart attack at 33.
"Looking at his body mass index, his cholesterol was never a concern for him. He got it checked when his mom had a heart attack, when he was 28 and a few years later, he had a heart attack," said Sangita.
She says they didn't think their son would be affected, since they had made healthy lifestyle modifications when Arnav was 15-months-old.
However, she says, she told his Children's Health pediatrician about their family history of high cholesterol and as a result, the doctor recommended testing, which revealed Arnav's cholesterol levels were extremely high and he needed medication.
"I didn't see that coming at all," said Sangita.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends all children between 9 and 11-years-old are screened for high blood cholesterol levels due to the growing epidemic of obesity in children.
In addition, the AAP recommends cholesterol testing for the following groups of children:
- Those whose parents or grandparents have had heart attacks or have been diagnosed with blocked arteries or disease affecting the blood vessels, such as stroke, at age 55 or earlier in men, or 65 or earlier in women
- Those whose parents or grandparents have total blood cholesterol levels of 240 mg/dL or higher
- Those whose family health background is not known (eg, many adopted children), or those who have characteristics associated with heart disease, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking or obesity
- For children in these categories, their first cholesterol test should be after 2 years but no later than 10 years of age.