The question of a normal range of cholesterol levels isn’t essential just for adults, but it can also affect children. The child may have inherited one or both of his parents from a defective gene and may develop heart disease early.

The way of life is of course involved and the excess of cholesterol can be manifested very early, from childhood. But during this period of life, the “bad cholesterol” is gradually deposited on the arterial walls and turns into plaque atheroma in late adolescence. In addition, it is around the age of 18 that the normal range of cholesterol levels is fixed permanently. In other words, if he is raised as a teenager, he will be lifelong.What is a Normal Range of Cholesterol Levels

What is Cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a waxy substance found in the blood and cells of the body. It is called lipid or fat. Our body naturally produces cholesterol. It is also found in the foods we eat.

The main source of cholesterol is the human body itself since the liver makes about two-thirds of it. Only one-third of cholesterol is provided by the diet.

It is made from saturated fatty acids. It circulates in the blood as lipoparticles where it is bound with carrier proteins called lipoproteins. The surplus will settle in the arteries and these deposits clog the vessels. Blood cholesterol can be reduced by approximately 10% by decreasing the dietary intake of saturated fatty acids.

Paradoxically, when one consumes excess food cholesterol (examples: shrimp, mussels, egg yolks), the body will reduce its own production of cholesterol by regulatory mechanisms. On the other hand, when one consumes too much saturated fatty acids (examples: cold cuts, crisps, dairy products, and cheese), the body increases its production of cholesterol.

Cholesterol Functions

* Cholesterol is a basic component of our cells and plays an important role in nerve isolation. It is essential for the constitution of cellular membranes of an organism. It is the precursor of steroid, adrenal and sexual hormones.

* It has an indispensable role in the manufacture of vitamin D and in the production of bile acids for digestion. The body also needs cholesterol to produce hormones, vitamin D, and digestive fluids that help us digest the foods eaten.

* Newborns also need cholesterol for the development of the brain’s nervous system.

* It protects the skin from infections and shocks.

* Cholesterol is extremely important for survival. It is necessary for the production of vitamin D3, essential for the brain and nerve function. Without it, we cannot create a memory.

* Cholesterol is necessary for the formation of corticosteroids, testosterone, and estrogen.

It is vital to have a normal range of cholesterol levels: you just have to avoid having too much. An excessive amount of cholesterol is harmful to the body In case of excess, hypercholesterolemia is responsible for atheromatosis and its risks, myocardial infarction in particular.

If there are too many atheroma plaques, this can lead to

* heart failure: infarction

* the stroke

* the obstruction of the arteries.

Excess cholesterol (hypercholesterolemia) can become lethal in the long term as there may be atheroma plaque formations that can clog the arteries.

The “Good” and the “Bad” Cholesterol

These are the lipoproteins that carry cholesterol through the body. In this regard, we note:

HDL – High-Density Lipoprotein

High-density lipoproteins are called “good” cholesterol because they extract the “bad” LDL cholesterol from the blood by returning it to the liver for disposal as a waste, which helps prevent plaque build-up. in the arteries. Maintaining high levels of HDL cholesterol helps protect the heart.

It has several functions, including cholesterol transport. Yet, rather than transporting it to cells, HDLs transport the anti-oxidant enzymes from the cells back to the liver, where the cells determine whether to recycle or make them available. It is the liver that controls the amount of cholesterol in the body and not the lipoproteins.

This could explain why HDL is considered good: it can help neutralize a possible injury caused by the oxidation of LDL. They participate in the destruction of atheroma plaques. They help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

LDL – Low-Density Lipoprotein

Low-density lipoproteins are called “bad” cholesterol, because in too large quantities in the bloodstream, they can accumulate on the walls of the arteries and form deposits called plaques. The plaque deposits can narrow the arteries. This process of narrowing is called atherosclerosis. Plaque can also break off arterial walls and form clots that can lead to heart attack, stroke or sudden death. The goal should be to maintain low LDL cholesterol.

It is one of the transport proteins of cholesterol. It is a lipoprotein, and the main element of lipid assessment to assess the cardiovascular risk. Diseases of the heart and vessels occur when a fraction of the cholesterol circulating in the blood is found in too large a quantity.

The LDL receptors in the cells are very sensitive, they can undergo oxidation, degradation due to tobacco or sugars resulting in non-recognition by the body that will phagocyte them and form plaques that will eventually block the arteries.

Screening of a Normal Range of Cholesterol Levels in Children

The British journal British Medical Journal has published a study that detecting cholesterol in children would reduce the risk for them to develop cardiovascular disease in adulthood.

From 13 studies involving 1907 cases, English researchers found that screening cholesterol in children aged 1 to 9 years could detect, with a success rate approaching 90%, the risk of familial hypercholesterolemia.

According to this study, young adults aged 20 to 39 with familial hypercholesterolemia are 100 times more likely to die of cardiovascular disease than unaffected peers.

The researchers suggest performing this screening when the child is between 1 and 2 years old, at the moment when the percentage of successful detection is maximal.

Hyperlipidemia

Hyperlipidemia is a high level of cholesterol in the blood that can also be called hypercholesterolemia. In adults, this condition is mainly caused by hereditary risk factors and a diet that is too rich in fat.

It is due to the absence of LDL-cholesterol receptors on the surface of the cells. Since cholesterol can not enter the cells, it accumulates in the blood; deposits may form.

The Hypercholesterolemia of the Child

This pathology can be declared from childhood. In children, the context of hypercholesterolemia is totally different from that of the adult, since it is solely genetic. This pathology has nothing to do with diet. A child who eats too much fat will not express this pathology if he is not genetically affected. On the other hand, the child programmed to develop hypercholesterolemia will not be able to avoid it despite all the measures of food hygiene.

Hyperlipidemia is rare in children. About 1 in 500 children have the defective gene responsible for hyperlipidemia. This gene causes extremely high levels of cholesterol or triglycerides, another kind of lipid. Children who inherit this defective gene from both parents are even more likely to suffer from heart trouble.

Hyperlipidemia in children can lead to early heart disease. Children who inherit hyperlipidemia may have cholesterol levels 4 times higher than normal children. Without treatment, they may already have atherosclerosis in their teens and run the risk of having a heart attack in their 20s.

Hyperlipidemia Is Diagnosed by Means of a Blood Test

Cholesterol is not measured by blood tests. It is the lipoproteins that are measured and they are not cholesterol.

If parents have a family history of high cholesterol and heart disease, the doctor can test their baby’s cholesterol level while still in the womb or very early in the child’s life.

What is the Normal Range of Cholesterol Levels?

The normal range of cholesterol level in a child or adolescent is 4.4 mmol / L (millimoles per liter of blood) with an LDL level of less than 2.8 mmol / L.

* Total  cholesterol of 170 mg/dl

* LDL  cholesterol of 110 mg/dl

Hyperlipidemia is controlled with proper diet, exercise, and medications

Children with hyperlipidemia who receive appropriate treatment should be able to avoid major heart problems later in life. For some, dieting will be sufficient while for others, taking medication will be necessary.

By lowering cholesterol levels in children or adolescents, they can be protected against heart disease. This is achieved through proper diet, exercise, and medication.

Children should be encouraged to eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables each day, as well as a wide range of other foods low in saturated fat and cholesterol. They should avoid junk food, snacks containing a lot of sugar and salt, soft drinks.

Children who have faulty genes from each of their parents are at particularly high risk. They will need specialized treatments to prevent atherosclerosis.

Regular blood cholesterol checks will also be needed to see if the treatment is working.

Hypocholesterolemia

If low cholesterol is dangerous, it is because it is essential for life and a lack of cholesterol can have serious consequences:

* in infants, whose brains are not yet fully constructed. A cholesterol deficiency could be dramatic for the child.

* cholesterol also involved in the manufacture of bile, too low a rate could lead to intestinal problems.

* vitamin D deficiency

* less fluid cell membranes and therefore fewer exchanges between cells.

* Steroid hormone problems.

* Risk of multiple sclerosis due to myelin sheaths in poor condition.

So we can conclude that the normal range of cholesterol levels is essential.

Risk Factors in Adolescence

According to a survey carried out in 2004, nearly 40% of young people already had at least one risk factor – diabetes, hypertension, smoking, obesity/overweight, sedentary lifestyle. Obesity continues to grow among young people and 40% of 18-20-year-olds are smokers. These two factors alone significantly increase cardiovascular risks.

When one is young and teenager, one does not feel concerned – wrongly – by cardiac accidents and one does not make the relation between certain behaviors and the cardiovascular risk.

Young people can also have excess cholesterol and cardiovascular disease. A simple screening between 16 and 30 years allows them to assess their risk and it is based on a blood test, fasting.

Importance of Cholesterol in the Development of the Nervous System

Cholesterol plays a role in the development of the nervous system in the fetus and the small child, and its protection by coating the nerve fibers (myelinated) accelerates the nerve impulse.

Myelin, which consists mainly of lipids, is used to isolate and protect nerve fibers and membrane integrity.

Omega-3s, and especially DHA, are important constituents of the brain (20% of fats) and the nervous system (40%). They are essential to the cerebral development of the child. By the way, human breast milk is the richest in omega 3 of all species. However, this richness varies according to the mother’s diet.

Cholesterol Is Necessary for the Development of Synapses Between Neurons in the Central Nervous System

According to a Franco-German study published in the journal Science in November 2001, it would be the cholesterol produced by glial cells of the brain that, by binding to the apolipoprotein E receptor of neurons, would allow the development of functional synapses between neurons.

The establishment of synapses between neurons is an important step during development as well as for learning and training memory.

Franck Pfrieger and his collaborators are interested in what happens when contact between two neurons and the role of other brain cells, glial cells, and possibly associated factors that can make a link between these two types of cells.

The researchers worked on cultured nerve cells and found that glial cells secrete cholesterol that appears to be involved in controlling synapse formation between neurons.

The results indicate that neurons secrete enough cholesterol to survive and grow but not enough to make contact with each other. Neurons rely on the exogenous supply of cholesterol provided by the neighboring cells of the neurons, the glial cells. The necessary cholesterol cannot come from the bloodstream because its carriers do not pass the blood-brain barrier.

The cholesterol produced would attach to the membrane cholesterol receptor on the neuron membrane, apolipoprotein E, the cholesterol transporter in the brain.

Importance of Fatty Acids for Growth and Development of Children

The contributions in fatty acids contribute to the good development of the psychic and motor acquisitions of the child. In the growth of the baby’s brain, the contributions of polyunsaturated fatty acids are vital and contribute in particular to the good functioning of the retina, one of the tissues of the central nervous system richest in Omega 3. The view depends on the quality of fatty acids.

The Families Omega 3, Omega 6 and Omega 9

The oils are fat and consist almost entirely of lipids.

Omega 3 and 6 are fatty acids derived from linoleic acid, so-called essential (A.G.E.) because they cannot be manufactured by the body and must be brought by the diet. These fatty acids intervene on several levels:

* They enter into the constitution of all the cells of the organism and participate in the growth,

* They allow the manufacture of prostaglandins for the immune defense,

* They participate in the regulation of cholesterol.

Omega 3

This fatty acid is responsible for the good reception in the brain of other sensory functions such as hearing, smell, and taste. It also plays an important role in the phenomena of memorization and therefore in the learning of the child.

It helps fight against inflammation, thins the blood, lowers blood sugar and blood pressure, increases good cholesterol and calms and regulates the heart rate.

It is found in plants (hemp, rapeseed, soy, nuts, wheat germ, flax) and in fish (cod liver, herring, sardines, salmon).

Omega 6

Available in plants (evening primrose, borage, grape seed, hemp, corn, sunflower) and in fish (herring, salmon, cod, sardines).

Omega 9

Play a leading role in the fight against cholesterol. It is present in olive oil, sunflower, and oleic safflower.

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