High cholesterol in children refers to an elevated blood level of cholesterol at a young age. High cholesterol is one of the main risk factors for heart disease in adults. Over the past 20 years, the importance of recognizing and managing high cholesterol in children has become more appreciated.  With many pediatricians now tackling high cholesterol in school-age children and younger, an understanding of the risk it poses and its prevention is paramount to healthy development.

High blood pressure in children, or pediatric hypertension, is a problem that is growing nationally. Blood pressure can be thought of as the resistance or pressure exerted in the walls of the blood vessels throughout the body. The heart is required to pump blood throughout the vessels in the body. The higher the pressure or resistance in these blood vessels, the more work the heart must do to generate force to pump blood. Elevated blood pressure, therefore, is a problem in that it increases the workload on the heart.

Children with certain forms of congenital heart defects are at higher risk of getting infections in the heart during times when bacteria may enter the bloodstream. Although this is very rare, it does happen on occasion and at times may be very serious. In fact, a bacterial infection in the heart can be life-threatening.

Complete heart block is a problem of electrical conduction through the AV node. The AV node is a group of specialized conducting cells found in the middle of the heart. The AV node is responsible for transmitting electrical pulses from the sinus node and the top part of the heart through to the bottom part of the heart. Complete heart block (complete AV block, or third-degree AV block) refers to a condition where the transmission of impulses through the AV node is completely interrupted. In other words, no impulses are able to get through whatsoever.

A coarctation of the aorta is a narrowing of the aorta that results in the heart having to squeeze harder to force blood past the narrowed area. Most patients with coarctation of the aorta require surgery to correct the condition. Often children are diagnosed as newborn infants; in this setting they frequently have symptoms and occasionally may be critically ill. When patients are diagnosed as older children they frequently come to attention because of long-standing high blood pressure.

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