Hypertriglyceridemia is an elevated level of triglycerides in the blood. Triglycerides, along with cholesterol, is one of the fats found in the human diet. Triglycerides are used by the body for energy, making chemicals and cell walls, and storing as fat. Triglyceride levels normally rise after a fatty meal. In fact, the normally clear part of blood (serum) taken from a child who has just eaten a fast food meal will appear cloudy when the red blood cells are separated. A high triglyceride level does not normally cause symptoms. If the level is over 800 mg/dL (normal is less than 200 mg/dL), the child may develop pancreatitis. The main causes of hyperlipidemia in children include a high fat diet, obesity, and to some degree genetic traits.
What causes hyperlipidemia?
- High fat diet
- Genetics (hyperlipidemia is found in some families)
- Kidney disease
- Medications (especially corticosteroids and contraceptive pills)
What are the symptoms of hyperlipidemia?
- Usually there are no symptoms
- If pancreatitis develops: abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting
How is hyperlipidemia diagnosed?
- A fasting blood level is the best test.
- The serum cholesterol levels should also be checked.
How is hyperlipidemia treated in children?
- Determine that another disease is not present (i.e., kidney disease, genetic hyperlipidemia)
- Stop medicines (if applicable)
- A weight loss program if the child is overweight
- Increase exercise
- Dietary changes (i.e., a low fat diet)
- Medicines are available for extreme cases.
Last Updated (Tuesday, 18 May 2010 09:46)