Making sense of your child’s health numbers

Excerpt from:

“…Unfortunately, as obesity becomes more common among children, diseases once thought to be primarily a problem of adulthood are showing up in kids. For this reason, children should be screened for medical complications of obesity, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

Not everyone agrees when you should start screening your children, but the latest recommendation is to test cholesterol between 9 and 11 years old and then again between 17 and 21. Ask your pediatrician for his or her opinion based on your child’s BMI. Blood pressure can be measured with a cuff at the doctor’s office, and diabetes and high cholesterol can be checked with simple blood tests.

These tests may include blood sugar, hemoglobin A1c and insulin levels for diabetes; a lipid panel (such as cholesterol and triglycerides) which, along with blood pressure, is a marker for heart disease; and tests for liver problems that can occur with obesity.

In some situations it might be important to rule out medical causes of obesity. For example, patients who have a higher concentration of fat in the neck and head region could have Cushing’s syndrome, and those who are relatively short for their weight and age and have other symptoms might have low thyroid function…”

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