If you know familial hypercholesterolemia is a concern in your family, then you may also be concerned about the health of your children. The causes of high cholesterol in children are many, and with an increased risk, there are some steps to take to protect your child’s heart. Here are some changes you and your family can make to lower the risk of high cholesterol and heart disease.
Rethinking the Family Diet
Saturated trans fats are one of the worst things you can eat if high cholesterol runs in your family. The trouble is, trans fats lurk in many popular foods, so how do you avoid feeding your child trans fats? One way to avoid this cholesterol-raising fat is to abstain from eating processed foods. Potato chips, fried foods and certain baked goods contain trans fats and should be reduced or eliminated altogether.
Along with avoiding certain foods, there are also healthy items you can add to the family diet to reduce the instance of high cholesterol and heart disease. Good fats, like those found in salmon and avocado, are a great addition to a weekly diet. For baked goods, look for items with whole grains, like oats and bran. You also can’t go wrong with fresh fruits and vegetables. If some of these products are hard to find in your area, then a simple supplement of flax seed in your food can go a long way.
Active Lifestyle; Healthy Heart
A sedentary lifestyle is one of the leading causes of heart disease and high cholesterol. Get everyone up and moving every day. Some family activities you can add include bike rides, hikes and ball games. High cholesterol at a young age can come from too little exercise and time spent outside. If outdoor activities haven’t been the norm in your home, starting this new routine may be difficult. Stick to it and it may lengthen your life and the lives of your children.
Keep Medical Records Up to Date
Any ailment with a family history, it’s important to let your doctor know this is a factor in any future treatments. There are two sides to this; the first is if you have a diagnosis of high cholesterol and the second is if you don’t. With a diagnosis, this record makes it easier for your children and grandchildren to refer to it and know they may see this in their future. If you have not been diagnosed but have high cholesterol in your family history, if signs begin to show it can make diagnosis quicker. Since family history is one of the causes of high cholesterol in children, this record becomes important to the future health of your child.
The causes of high cholesterol in children are many, but there are also many changes that can be made in your home to reduce the risk. Take a close look at your family’s diet, activity level and medical records to make sure everything is in order. You can change what you do and don’t eat and influence your children’s choices as well. Use family outings to exercise more and make it a habit to do something active every day.