Statins, cholesterol & children

Did you see the headlines last week (16th January 2018) about giving statins to children? The headlines were based on an article published in the Journal of Clinical Lipidology about children and the very rare condition called Familial Hypercholesterolemia. I was horrified by these headlines because I know what cholesterol does and I know what statins do.

This week’s note is the go-to post for the list of the vital roles performed by cholesterol in the human body. These serve as a reminder that human beings would die instantly without cholesterol and the human race would die out (cholesterol being responsible for sex hormones and reproduction). The note also has a reminder of what statins do – the pathway within the human body that they interfere with and what the consequences of this are. The note then briefly defines Familial Hypercholesterolemia, which is a genetic condition, and then we turn to the fun bit – looking at the article published last week and current UK and US guidelines for prescribing statins in children.

Current UK & US guidelines for statins in children

I always learn something doing the research for these weekly notes. This week I was shocked to realise that both the UK and the US encourage screening/testing toddlers for Familial Hypercholesterolemia (FH), if it is suspected that the child may have FH. FH might be suspected if a parent has FH (not so bad), but other guidelines include premature heart disease and/or elevated cholesterol in a relative as a reason for screening. Given that cholesterol-hypothesis-believing doctors think that 5 mmol/L [193 mg/dL) is high, I wonder why they don’t just routinely test at nursery school!

 

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