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Cholesterol screenings

Federal government now says all young children should get cholesterol screenings

Sunday, November 13, 2011 by: Jonathan Benson, staff writer
Tags: cholesterol screenings, children, health news

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(NaturalNews) The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), a division of the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), recently announced its new recommendation that all young children, regardless of risk, be screened for high cholesterol -- first between the ages of 9 and 11, and again between the ages of 17 and 21. The new guidelines overturn previous ones that applied only to children with high risk or a family history of heart problems.

Dr. Stephen Daniels, pediatrics chief at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and head of the panel that made the new recommendation, says previous guidelines were inadequate for identifying all children with high cholesterol or other heart risks. So by testing everyone, in other words, there is far less chance that high-risk children will slip by undetected, he says.

But in reality, young children are still in their developmental stages, which means their cholesterol readings are not necessarily accurate or indicative of potential health problems. In most cases, simple dietary changes and increased exercise, not statin drugs, is all it takes to quickly reverse what might appear to be precursors to high cholesterol and heart disease later in life.

Also, it has never even been scientifically proven that statin drugs are safe or effective for anyone, let alone young children. A 2010 study published in the British Medical Journal found that statin drugs can lead to cataracts, muscle weakness, liver dysfunction, and kidney failure (http://www.naturalnews.com/030317_statin_dru...). Another study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that statin drugs can actually cause diabetes (http://www.naturalnews.com/033109_cholestero...).

The policy change is a huge victory for the drug industry, as millions more American children will now be diagnosed with potential heart conditions, which means increased sales of statin drugs. Even CBS News has reported that the new guidelines will lead to "more aggressive recommendations for treating high cholesterol in children" (http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504763_162-57323...).

Some defenders of the policy, however, insist that screenings will not necessarily lead to more statin drug prescriptions. Parents of children who test high will first be encouraged to help improve their children's overall health through improved diet and a more active lifestyle, before ever resorting to statin drug regimens.

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