Saturday, November 12, 2011

Test Children's Cholesterol?

Experts Urge Cholesterol Tests For 9- To 11-Year-Olds, Boston Globe, November 12, 2011

No benefit studies exist? Then why would we test?
"The guidelines aren’t well thought out and represent an irrational exuberance for testing," said Dr. Steven Nissen, chairman of cardiovascular medicine at the Cleveland Clinic. He pointed out that no studies have been performed to show that universal cholesterol screening improves health outcomes in children."
Statins aren't innocuous. They are potent drugs with side effects:
"But some doctors say they worry that a greater number of children will be put on cholesterol-lowering statins at younger ages - and possibly kept on them for years or decades without knowing what benefits or long-term risks they would incur from the drugs. Some people experience muscle pain and liver problems from taking statins. In rare cases, life-threatening muscle damage can occur."
Why not skip the test and encourage lifestyle changes anyway?


Bix said...

So, on the one hand we're discovering that the total cholesterol figure by itself is a poor indicator of vascular problems, yet we are using it as a foundation for new aggressive testing schedules? There sure seems to be special interests behind this.

Perovskia said...

Not totally unrelated, they also want to do blood pressure testing in children as young as 3. I can't say I agree with it.