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Few Adolescents Need Treatment for Cholesterol

Low number of adolescents eligible for pharmacological treatment of high cholesterol

TUESDAY, Feb. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Using national data, less than 1 percent of adolescents are potentially eligible to receive pharmacological treatment for elevated concentrations of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, according to research published online Feb. 16 in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

Earl S. Ford, M.D., of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and colleagues evaluated available data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 1999 to 2006. The subjects were aged 6 to 17 years.

The mean levels of total cholesterol were 163 mg/dL for those aged 6 to 17 years and mean levels of LDL cholesterol were 90.2 mg/dL for participants aged 12 to 17, the researchers report. Up to 6.6 percent of participants exhibited an elevated level of LDL cholesterol, while up to 10.7 percent had an elevated level of total cholesterol. The investigators calculated that according to updated guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics, 0.8 percent of adolescents potentially qualified for pharmacological treatment for elevated cholesterol levels.

"Given current guidelines, only a small percentage of U.S. adolescents may need pharmacological treatment for elevated concentrations of LDL cholesterol," the authors write.

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