Better options needed for children at higher risk of premature heart disease

Heart chambers infographic

American Heart Association Scientific Statement

Obesity and severe obesity in childhood and adolescence have been added to the list of conditions that put children and teens at increased risk for premature heart disease, according to a new scientific statement from the American Heart Association published in the Association’s journal Circulation.

The statement provides an overview of current scientific knowledge about managing and treating the increased risk of atherosclerosis and early heart disease, in children and teens with type 1 or 2 diabetes, familial high cholesterol, congenital heart disease, childhood cancer survivorship and other conditions. Atherosclerosis is the slow narrowing of the arteries that underlies most heart diseases and stroke.

“Parents need to know that some medical conditions raise the chances of premature heart disease, but we are learning more every day about how lifestyle changes and medical therapies that can lower their cardiovascular risk and help these children live their healthiest lives,” said Sarah de Ferranti, M.D., M.P.H., chair of the writing group for the statement and  chief of the Division of Cardiology Outpatient Services at the Boston Children’s Hospital in Massachusetts.

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