September 24, 2006
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.
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.
[Editor’s comment: See Cholesterol Screening and Testing to learn about specific cholesterol levels for teens.