It’s common to think of high blood pressure and high cholesterol as adult health issues, but you may be surprised to learn that coronary artery disease actually starts in childhood. In fact, nearly 1 in 250 children have high cholesterol.
The good news is that there’s a lot we can do to help children stay healthy. Focusing on early detection and individualized treatments, Children’s Health has been helping children reduce their risk of complications for over 20 years. We were one of the first pediatric prevention programs in North Texas.
Coronary artery disease is a heart condition in which a waxy substance (plaque) builds up inside the arteries that supply oxygen-rich blood to your child’s heart (coronary arteries). Left untreated, your child is at risk for conditions such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol, which can lead to life-threatening complications.
With a lifelong commitment to preventive treatment, your child can avoid these risks.
Some children have a higher risk for coronary artery disease than others. Especially if they have:
Each child may experience symptoms differently. These symptoms include:
Although some children experience no symptoms, they are still at risk for complications. This is why it’s important to get preventive care from doctors specializing in pediatric cardiology.
Accurately diagnosing your child’s condition helps us make sure they receive the treatments they need to stay healthy. We start with a comprehensive exam, which may include one or more separate tests.
Our large team of specialists includes experts in every aspect of pediatric heart disease, including diagnostic imaging. Learn more about the full range of tests we offer in our cardiac imaging department.
We may also ask members of your family to undergo similar testing so we can understand if this condition has been passed down (inherited). This is an important factor in determining the best treatment for your child.
We use tried and true methods to treat your child’s condition, including:
Part of what makes preventive cardiac care at Children’s special is our focus on personalized treatment plans, including:
Leveraging the full resources available at Children’s we may also refer your child for additional specialized services to help them achieve treatment goals, including:
Your child will need lifelong care for their condition. You can expect to meet with one of our prevention experts every 4 to 6 months to make sure treatments are working.
Learn more about coronary artery disease in children:
Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:
Yes, without treatment your child is at risk for the same complications as adults who have high cholesterol and high blood pressure. This includes heart attacks.
Yes, once your child has been diagnosed with high blood pressure or high cholesterol, they will always be at higher than normal risk, even if they seem perfectly healthy.
Other than obesity, we don’t know much about what causes high blood pressure in children. When children have severe high blood pressure, it’s often sign of a more serious condition such as kidney disease or a congenital heart defect.
These conditions are normally first detected during routine physical exams. If your child is experiencing symptoms, he or she should receive these tests right away. If there is a family history of heart disease, your child should be tested before they reach five years of age.