Hey Kids, Learn About Cholesterol

Updated:Aug 8,2014

Keep a healthy total cholesterol levelMany kids (and adults) have too much cholesterol in their blood without knowing it. You want your blood to be able to go with the flow, so keep your blood cholesterol low!

Cholesterol is a waxy substance in your bloodstream and cells that your body needs to function. Some cholesterol is important for good health, but too much can hurt your body, your brain and your heart.

When too much cholesterol circulates in the blood, it can slowly build up inside the walls of your arteries that feed blood to your heart and brain. Cholesterol combines with other substances in your blood to form “plaque.” This thick, hard deposit can narrow the arteries, make them less flexible and put you at major risk for heart disease and stroke.

How and when should I measure my cholesterol?

Talk with your parents about your family history of heart disease or stroke. Your parents should also share this information with your doctor or health care professional, who can decide whether your cholesterol should be tested.

If your healthcare provider thinks you should be tested, he or she will probably tell you not to have any food or drinks except water for about 12 hours before the test. You will need to have a small amount of blood collected in a tube so your doctor can measure how much cholesterol and other fats are circulating in your blood.

How do you control cholesterol?

While your body makes all the cholesterol it needs, your diet can play a big role in your cholesterol levels too. Pay attention to your food choices. Choose foods that are low in saturated fat and trans fats and high in whole grains.

Here are some tips and questions for you to think about cholesterol and your healthy heart:
  1. Talk with your parents about whether you have a family history of heart disease or stroke, and make sure to discuss this information during your next appointment with your family doctor or healthcare provider.
     
  2. What are other ways that can help you control your cholesterol? 

Last reviewed 8/2014



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