Study Suggests Testing Children at 15 Months for Cholesterol

by Hannah Punitha on Sep 14 2007 9:12 PM

Researchers at Barts and the London Queen Mary's School of Medicine and Dentistry sifted through 13 studies to explore the problem of inherited high cholesterol levels.

Statistics show that about two in every 1,000 people have "familial hypercholesterolaemia" in which a genetic flaw causes very high blood levels of low density lipoprotein (LDL), the dangerous, wax-like artery-clogging protein.

Young adults -- people aged between 20-39 -- with familial hypercholesterolaemia are 100 times likelier to die from heart disease compared to counterparts without this disorder.

Taking statin drugs to reduce LDL levels reduces the risk substantially, though.

The overview of the studies found that by screening children aged between one and nine, physicians could detect nearly 90 percent of individuals at risk of familial hypercholesterolaemia.

Children could thus be screened for cholesterol when they visit their doctor for routine vaccinations at about 15 months of age, the paper suggests.