Teens should get tested for heart disease, study says

National and World
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AUSTIN (KXAN) — New research suggests more teenagers should get routinely screened for heart disease.

The recent study from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital looked at a group of middle school students and found more than a third had high cholesterol and abnormal levels of blood sugar. Two of the students had diabetes despite showing no signs.

Top cardiologist Dr. Stuart Rowe, of Dell Seton Children’s Hospital, looked over the results to see if the problem is widespread.

“They screened 45 kids, school population was 290 so a relatively small group of kids whose family consented to screening. Thirty-five percent of the kids screened had either abnormal results,” Rowe said.

The study found some of the children screened were pre-diabetic but the cardiologist is not surprised by the findings.

“I think if you screened middle school children, you’d find a significant percentage with lipid abnormalities or pre-diabetes because of the prevalence of obesity.”

It is a growing concern.

According to Rowe, the study showed nearly 40 percent of the children screened were overweight — some obese.

The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Heart Association and the Amerian Diabetes Assocation all recommend screening children for diabetes as young as 10 years old.

Rowe suggests screening teenagers for heart disease in middle school should be part of the solution now before it’s too late.

“We like to think that controlling diabetes, controlling cholesterol levels will have an impact on adult-onset cardiovascular disease,” he said. “When an adult goes to the emergency room with a heart attack, the horse is pretty much out of the barn.”

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