Hyperlipidemia in Children and Adolescents

Cardiol Rev. 2023 Nov-Dec;31(6):330-335. doi: 10.1097/CRD.0000000000000465. Epub 2022 Jun 14.

Abstract

While coronary artery disease (CAD) is thought to be a disease of adulthood, atherosclerosis can originate in childhood and adolescence. There is a paucity of randomized controlled treatment trials regarding dyslipidemia among the younger population. However, it is apparent that childhood dyslipidemia is associated with an earlier onset of CAD. Most recent guidelines by the American College of Cardiology (ACC) and American Heart Association (AHA) focus on lifestyle modification and lifetime risk of atherosclerotic disease, as well as adequate screening measures. Genetic factors, environmental contributors such as pollution, obesity linked to poor nutrition, and sedentary lifestyles are shown to be associated with increased lipid levels and early CAD among children and adolescents. Familial hyperlipidemia is one of the most prevalent genetic diseases and can affect 1 in 250 individuals. A multimodal treatment plan is most effective for children and adolescents with dyslipidemia including lifestyle changes (a modified diet and moderate physical activity) and pharmacologic intervention. The mainstay of pharmacologic treatment for childhood dyslipidemia is similar to that of adults. Statins are the most widely used medications. Newer medications have proven integral in treatment for genetic dyslipidemias including evolocumab and evinacumab.