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Cholesterol test for children urged

Youngsters should be tested for high cholesterol at 15 months in a bid to stop them suffering from heart disease in later life, experts say.

Testing could be carried out during vaccinations to identify high cholesterol levels that run in families - known as familial hypercholesterolaemia - which would mean at-risk parents will also be pinpointed.

Adults could then be given cholesterol-busting drugs such as statins, with the children getting them when they grow up, the study added.

Familial hypercholesterolaemia affects about one in every 500 people, and causes very high levels of low density lipoprotein (LDL) or "bad cholesterol" in the blood.

Research published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) claims that if children are screened between the ages of one and nine, detection rates for the condition could reach 88%.

Scientists from Barts and The London, Queen Mary's School of Medicine and Dentistry, wrote: "Systems would need to be developed to track affected children over time to ensure that appropriate treatment is started when they are older.

"If, after a few decades, the uptake of screening were high enough, the need to test children at 15 months of age would disappear because all or nearly all affected individuals would be known and it would be necessary to test only the children of families known to have the disorder."


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