There is a commercial on TV that, while selling a drug for the treatment of high cholesterol or high LDL, makes a good point about the genetic link to problems with cholesterol. The commercial has several witty little lines like, “Is your cholesterol affected by your Uncle Bo or Bow tie pasta?”
We’ll see if the idea catches on here at home, but a report from Science Daily indicates that in the UK it is recommended that children be tested for cholesterol levels, specifically for LDL before age 9, even as early as 15 months. The article doesn’t indicate that cholesterol at that age is a treatable issue, but that determining a genetic problem at an early age can keep people from wandering off into adulthood not having a clue that they are packing a problem with them.
A little radical? Maybe it is, but maybe a few drops of blood at an early age can be just what it takes for you and Junior to have a discussion about health and lifestyle. Maybe a discussion about other family history issues also.
One of the most common reasons that people don’t get the life insurance rates they applied for is that they don’t have any idea what their cholesterol is. That’s because most adults, especially men, don’t get regular physicals.
So, knowing ahead of time that your child will become an adult with the bad habit of not getting his (or her) cholesterol checked, why not at least be able to give them a heads up concerning any genetic issues. If the test comes back showing no genetic pre-disposition to elevated LDL (bad cholesterol), that’s good news that you can pass on when they are old enough to understand. That also opens the door to a discussion of why you had them tested and how to avoid lifestyle choices that can lead to heart disease.
Bottom line. Whether you have your child tested or not, do them a favor and before they leave home talk to them about cholesterol, heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes. Give it your best shot at influencing lifestyle choices that will be in their control from that point forward.