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September 24, 2006

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Question from Clifton, Colorado, USA:

My 15 year old son's cholesterol level has been increasing for the last year. At his last physician's visit, he was given a prescription for lovastatin. His total cholesterol is 135. I have not started him on this medication yet. After talking with his doctor, we went to see a dietician and she evaluated his diet, suggesting that he add more fiber but, overall, felt that his diet is not the problem. How common is it for a teenager to be on cholesterol medication? What is a normal cholesterol level for a teenager with or without type 1 diabetes? My son is very active. He participates in football and wrestling and continues to train in the off seasons as well. The physician and dietitian claim he is a model teenager as his diabetes is very well controlled. His A1c is usually around 7.

Answer:

There must be something I am missing. I don’t think his total cholesterol was 135. That would mean the bad or LDL cholesterol would be likely in the 70s, if that high. Maybe the LDL was 135?

I would consider that aggressive for treating cholesterol. I don’t know the whole story the family history, early death from heart disease, etc. I do know that type 1 diabetes, as well as type 2 diabetes, requires good cholesterol attention. Our problem is that too many do too little rather than too much. Talk to the doctor about what makes him want to treat your son.

LD

[Editor’s comment: See Cholesterol Screening and Testing to learn about specific cholesterol levels for teens.

BH]