Cholesterol Drugs Now Safe For Kids!

Last modified on July 7th, 2008

Yes, it’s true. Recent research says kids as young as eight years old can now safely go on cholesterol lowering medication!

Man, I can’t believe they are seriously pushing that. Yes, overweight kids probably have high cholesterol, but let’s focus on a solution, not a patch. Most people would probably be surprised to know that the whole science of cholesterol is pretty weak. Lots of people live their whole lives with high cholesterol and never experience any problems, and some people with low cholesterol can be in danger for a heart attack. In fact, the whole science of cholesterol (LDL, HDL, triglycerides, etc.) is so over-simplified that it’s basically useless as a mainstream medical concept.

For example, some forms of LDL (the BAD cholesterol), aren’t that bad for you, and only a very specific kind, known as VLDL (very low density lipoprotein), actually contributes to heart disease. This form typically only manifests itself on diets high in sugar, which usually coincides with high triglycerides (which when used in conjunction with a low HDL reading can be used as a warning sign for insulin resistance, also known as metabolic syndrome, syndrome-X or hyperinsulinemia).

Most people are surprised to learn that 2/3 of the fat in a typical steak will actually improve your cholesterol profile, while only 1/3 will make it worse. Yet dated nutrionalists still insist that the only way to lower cholesterol is basically to remove fat from the diet and eat lots of vegetables. And while the latter is obviously ok, fat is needed in a healthy diet, and many european diets are heavy (by western standards) with polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, both of which typically lead to improved health.

Truthfully, most people overmedicate themselves. This is probably due to pressure from drug companies trying to make a profit, or maybe the erosion of will in doctors who, despite giving good advice for most of their careers, have been disheartened by the lack of improvements in the general population. In this case, I think giving cholesterol fighting drugs to kids is an amazingly bad idea since it doesn’t address the problem, but instead attempts to apply a dirty band-aid to it. In addition. cholesterol fighting drugs are relatively new, and I don’t think the safety profile is well-established enough to recommend giving it to anyone who isn’t in imminent danger of having a heart attack.

11 responses to “Cholesterol Drugs Now Safe For Kids!”

  1. Dale says:

    How come there’s no pill for cultural stupidity?

  2. Tawcan says:

    They’re giving cholesterol pills to kids now? What’s next? Condoms to 8 year olds? Oh wait have they been doing that already?

    Good point on focusing on the solution and not the patch. Patch/shorcut seems to be what ppl like nowadays. So many people aren’t willing to put in time to be healthy but rather would just take pills. It’s pretty sad when you think about it.

  3. Duane Storey says:

    It’s not the kids’ fault, really. I mean, they are surrounded by nutritional garbage everywhere they look. Sugar. High fructose corn syrup. Empty carbs. Soda. Caffeine.

    Plus, I doubt kids really get much exercise in school these days. When I was a kid, we had gym 3 or 4 times a week. In university it was an elective, but I signed up and definitely am glad I got to unwind with a basketball or tennis ball from time to time.

  4. Sebrina says:

    I completely agree with what you’ve said here. However, I think it’s important to mention that the kinds of fat that are good for you – omega 3 fatty acids – ?-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are found in fruits like kiwi, walnuts, salmon, herring, and other types of fish. Correct me if I’m wrong, but red meat isn’t nearly as good for you as what I’ve mentioned.

  5. Duane Storey says:

    Those are all constituents of the mono and poly groups, but yes, they are healthy. Poly raises HDL and lowers LDL, mono raises both (so it’s kind of a wash), whereas saturated fat typically raises LDL cholesterol (but, the type that it raises depends on other factors).

    In terms of a steak, I just did a quick check in an online database. It was 4 grams saturated fat, 4 grams mono unsaturated fat and 2 grams poly-unsaturated fat. So in this case, 60% of it actually good fat. People are far more worried about red meat than they should be, which is a consequence of the whole cholesterol movement (Also take note that the body manufactures over 80% of the cholesterol in the blood all by itself. That is, cholesterol obtained from diet has a very limited effect on cholesterol in the blood). For those that don’t know, cholesterol is what ultimately turns into the cell walls throughout the cells in the body.

    Saturated fat only causes health problems when it’s coupled with a high-carb/sugar diet. Heart disease is basically non-existent in populations like the Inuit, and they get 70% of their calories from saturated fat.

  6. Val says:

    I think it’s crazy. I agree with Tawcan, we must put in the time to be healthy. I am border line on being put on cholesterol pills. So I am trying to make a difference by changing my life style.

    A girl at my work had been put on cholesterol pills in her 30’s. Ten years later her Specialist has recently taken her off them as he said the side effects from the drug were far more damaging to her body than her having a cholesterol problem. There are also other people that I know are on the drug and they are having alot side effects. Go figure… they want to put kids on these drugs…. I agree with Duane they do not have enough history on this medication to be going that far. I know if I can help it I don’t want to have take the medication to find out one way or another.

  7. Duane Storey says:

    That’s a good point, mom. Most cholesterol drugs (the statins) have serious side effects and can damage your liver. You typically have to get full liver tests done every 6 months while on them.

  8. Sebrina says:

    Hmmm, good to know. Thanks for the detailed response :). I can understand how red meat would be good for you in moderation. I’m a pescetarian, so my diet consists of a lot of fish and nuts for my protein and fat, and no red meat. I find I have a pretty balanced diet, but I’m not missing anything from not eating red meat am I?

  9. Gregg says:

    My family genetically has high cholesterol, and my aunt is already on the drugs. Years ago my good friend’s dad was the main internal medicine specialist in Abbotsford, and upon hearing my own cholesterol levels he stated diet would not help me and I would eventually need the drugs.

    When I decided a couple of years ago to go get the full testing done, my doctor was shocked how high my bad levels were. He then ran all my stats such as height, weight, age and cholesterol levels, and ran them through some software that gave the risk levels based on empirical evidence. Men normally have a 0.5% chance of a heart attack, but as an overweight guy in my late thirties with horrible bad cholesterol levels, my chances are 0.7%. The reason there was only a 0.2 increase was that I am “only” in my late thirties.

    He said that he himself was on the pills, but that there was no need for me to be on them now until increased age actually started to make the risk levels significant. So if my “youth” is keeping the risks low, then how much risk can a 8 year old be at? Or anyone under 20 for that matter?

  10. Duane Storey says:

    Gregg, I believe what you are referring to is called hypercholesterolemia. You should know that it is misdiagnosed in approximately 95% of the cases, and has become sort of a catch-all for people with high cholesterol.

    That’s not to say you really don’t have that, but you should probably get a second or third opinion before you go on drugs. If the highest number on your chart is triglycerides, it’s more likely that you’re sensitive to sugar and carbohydrates, or have a diet predominantly containing refined carbs.

  11. Gregg says:

    I’ll be sure to get plenty of opinions and do my own research before going on the drugs; I always do, but thanks for pointing me towards hypercholesterolemia. I’m just glad I don’t have a doctor that wants me on the drugs right away; that he actually looks at the true risk factors. If he hasn’t put me on them so far, I’m confident he wouldn’t put a kid on them.

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