The Preventive Cardiology Program is committed to improving the health of children at risk for heart disease. We care for children who have cardiac risk factors for heart and vascular disease which may include high cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity, and a family history of heart attacks and strokes.
Patients cared for in this clinic have the following conditions:
Cholesterol is a soft, fat-like substance found in the bloodstream and in all your body’s cells. Your body, especially the liver, makes all the cholesterol it needs. The cholesterol circulates through the blood. Cholesterol is also found in foods from animal sources, such as meat, eggs or full fat dairy products. Your liver produces more cholesterol when you eat a diet high in saturated and trans-fats. Too much cholesterol can form plaque between layers of artery walls, making it harder for your heart to circulate blood, which can lead to heart disease, strokes or early heart attacks.
High cholesterol is one of the major controllable risk factors for heart disease, heart attacks and stroke. Research shows that the buildup of fatty plaque in arteries begins in childhood and progresses slowly into adulthood. As your blood cholesterol rises, so does the risk of heart disease. Your cholesterol levels can be affected by your age, gender, family health history and diet.
There are many types of cholesterol. There are two types generally discussed. High Density Lipoprotein (HDL), which is often referred to as the “good” cholesterol, and Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL), which is the “bad” cholesterol.
This type of cholesterol is often called “the bad” cholesterol. When there is too much LDL cholesterol in your blood, it can contribute to the formation of plaque buildup in the arteries.
The arteries can become narrow and even clog, causing a reduction in blood flow. This can lead to a heart attack or stroke.
This type of cholesterol is often called “the good” cholesterol. It helps remove the “bad” LDL cholesterol from arteries and helps protect you from heart attack and stroke.
Triglycerides are the most common type of fat in your blood. High levels of triglycerides are often found in children and adolescents with other risk factors such as high LDL and low HDL.
High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure in children and adolescents is now commonly observed. If left untreated, hypertension can lead to heart disease, stroke, kidney damage, vision loss and memory loss.
Obesity occurs when a child is significantly over the ideal weight for height. Obesity in children is determined by using a BMI percentile (measure of weight in relation to height). Obesity can increase risk factors for heart disease, elevated cholesterol, hypertension, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, liver disease and orthopedic problems.
At your appointment, our team will develop a comprehensive plan for your child based on the following information.
Measure your child’s height, weight, Body Mass Index (BMI) and other vital signs
Review current medications your child is taking
Complete a detailed family history of medical conditions
Complete a nutritional assessment
Review lifestyle habits and typical diet
ECG, Echocardiogram, labs and exercise stress testing may be performed
Review lab results
Perform a physical evaluation and offer medical analysis
Review heart healthy diet, lifestyle adjustments and possibly medications that will improve your child’s health. We will use those recommendations to set goals for you and your child.
Refer your child for an assessment in the Preventive Cardiology Exercise Lab
Exercise Physiology Assessment
Patients will have an evaluation with an experienced and certified clinical exercise physiologist. The exercise physiologist will provide exercise consultation/intervention and promote healthy lifestyle changes to reduce the risk of cardiovascular and metabolic disease in the future, as well as improve overall quality of life, social and emotional health.
The assessment will include the following interventions:
Baseline and annual cardiopulmonary exercise testing to evaluate overall physical abilities and breathing efficiency
Biometric assessments to evaluate progress and need for further intervention/modification to current interventions
Creation of exercise prescription
Routine follow-up visits with exercise prescription revision and consultation
Heart Center Family Resource Guide
To help prepare families for their care with Lurie Children's Heart Center, we have compiled a list of resources that may be of use throughout treatment — whether it's getting ready for an inpatient stay or outpatient visit, or learning more about the support services available to patients and families.
We’re participating in the CASCADE FH Registry, which is a database that is collecting information such as diagnoses, patient outcomes and disease patterns for people with familial hypercholesterolemia (FH). The goal of the CASCADE FH Registry is to improve the quality of care for individuals with FH, advance the scientific understanding of the condition and increase the rate of diagnosis. Learn more about the CASCADE FH Registry.