Our children are being relentlessly exposed to a cardiotoxic environment. High calorically dense, fat-enriched foods, and technologically aided sedentary lifestyles predispose future generations to cardiovascular insult. An idea once considered unimaginable a generation ago, more and more children are developing risk factors for coronary artery disease at an alarming rate.
Although children with cardiac risk factors may be asymptomatic, the data reveal the presence of significant early vascular changes in the form of fatty streaks, precursors to early plaque formation, in the coronary arteries of older children (above 10 years of age) and adolescents. The good news is that routine implementation of methods of early detection of coronary artery changes are on the horizon; these include intravascular ultrasound, cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and 64-slice computed tomography (CT) imaging, which may aid physicians in deciding whether to prescribe cholesterol-lowering drugs. However, with the new technology, new questions will arise and decisions will have to be made regarding the validity and ultimate utility of these drugs in directing treatment.
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