Conditions We Treat

Your child’s treatment plan depends on his or her cholesterol condition and personal health profile. For all children, we promote heart-healthy behaviors and habits. When indicated, we also use safe and effective medicines to treat severe lipid abnormalities that may pose a risk. By treating early, we can work to improve your child’s health trajectory and help avoid unexpected heart events in the future, allowing your child to live a full life without worry of heart problems.

We treat children of all ages, for all types of lipid disorders and concerns. Dyslipidemia is a broad term for any lipid abnormality, including elevated LDL (a buildup of “bad cholesterol” in the coronary arteries), low HDL (“good cholesterol”), and high triglycerides.

Specific forms of dyslipidemia

High cholesterol (hyperlipidemia)

High cholesterol (hyperlipidemia) can be inherited (caused by a gene from a parent) and/or influenced by eating and exercise habits. Because of the risks associated with high cholesterol, the American Heart Association recommends that all children receive a cholesterol screening between the ages of 9 to 11 and 17 to 21.

Elevated lipoprotein (a), or Lp(a)

Elevated lipoprotein (a), or Lp(a), is a type of inherited cholesterol particle that can increase the risk of heart attack and stroke. Because it is primarily genetic, Lp(a) is less likely to change with diet and exercise habits, and treatment is primarily focused on lowering LDL cholesterol levels, if elevated. When one person in the family is found to have elevated Lp(a), there is a risk for their close family members to also have elevated Lp(a), and it is recommended that these individuals be screened for this risk factor.

Familial hypercholesterolemia (FH)

Familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) is a common inherited form of high cholesterol (1 in 250) in which the liver can’t process LDL adequately, causing these levels to be elevated. High levels of LDL can lead to fatty deposits in the arteries, making them stiff and hard, setting a child up for serious, early heart disease. Individuals with this condition are at a significantly increased risk of premature coronary artery disease and heart attacks. When treated early, premature coronary disease can be prevented. Children can be started on cholesterol-lowering medicines as early as age 8, significantly reducing their risk for heart events. 

Hypertriglyceridemia (HTG)

Hypertriglyceridemia (high triglycerides) may be caused by genetics, specific dietary habits, lack of physical activity, or some medicines. Further, hypertriglyceridemia may be associated with other important diagnoses that warrant assessment, including obesity, insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and fatty liver. In severe cases, such as a genetic disorder called familial chylomicronemia syndrome (FCS), high triglycerides may cause skin breakouts or a dangerous condition called pancreatitis (inflammation in the pancreas). 

Rare dyslipidemias

There are many rare inherited forms of cholesterol abnormalities, which can impact various types of cholesterol particles. For example, some inherited cholesterol conditions can lead to very low levels of HDL ("good cholesterol") which can increase the risk of heart disease later in life.