Evaluation of serum cholesterol and triglyceride levels in 1-6-year-old Saudi children.

Abstract

Estimations of cholesterol and triglyceride in serum are frequently requested tests due to the close association between elevated levels of these parameters and the risk of arteriosclerosis later leading to cardiovascular disease. Since lipid levels in children show considerable variations in different populations, this study was conducted with the aim of investigating levels of cholesterol and triglycerides in Saudi children less than 6 years old. The study group comprised 582 children with ages ranging from 1 to 6 years, randomly selected during a household screening programme. Fasting blood was used for the estimation of cholesterol and triglyceride using an autoanalyser. The overall range for cholesterol was 2.1-5.7 mmol/l and for triglyceride it was 0.1-1.84 mmol/l. The children were separated into five further groups depending on age, and the levels of cholesterol and triglycerides were obtained in each age group. Using published guidelines for cholesterol and triglyceride levels, to estimate 'borderline' and 'high risk' for arteriosclerosis and coronary artery disease, the prevalence of both risk groups were calculated in Saudi children. A total of 6.87 per cent of children fell in the borderline risk and 1.55 per cent in the high-risk group using cholesterol levels, while 1.89 per cent fell in the borderline-risk group and 1.2 per cent in the high-risk group using triglyceride levels. This paper presents the lipid values and discusses the need for lipid awareness programmes in the country.

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