so let me set the stage/history..
I have a significant family history of familial hypercholesterolemia, my mom, uncles, my brother, myself. I had an uncle die at 39 of a heart attack, 49 of a massive heart attack and my mom has had 2 heart attacks before the age of 60. Now, all of them smoked, were overweight and never exercised and were very stressed, however, there cholesterol levels were really high and as a family we all carry a protein level called, Lipoprotein ( a) that increases your risk of heart disease.
I have known for a long time that I had higher than normal cholesterol levels but my ratio has always been normal. Recently, after having all my children and not nursing for over a year my cardiologist wanted to put me on a Statin ( a cholesterol lowering drug), with my medical background I wanted to make sure I wasn't at immediate risk of a heart attack and wanted to know where I stood with regards to the disease, so, I underwent a treadmill stress test, calcium ion CT scan, various blood work, etc... and low and behold my cardiologist tole me that I didn't need anything and to f/u with him in 3 years for repeat scans and stress test. He was almost certain ( 99%) that I was going to need medication but I surprised him and so far so good, with proper diet and exercise I have decreased my cholesterol to about 205 and my HDL is 80 and my ldl is 110, so not bad. My triglycerides are fine too. So the reason for my blog....
Based on my significant family history my good girlfriend who is a pediatric cardiologist who specializes in lipids told me I should have my kids tested for elevated cholesterol and also for the lipoprotein (a) level. All my children were tested before the age of 3 and all of them had cholesterol levels of over 200, ldl levels over a 100 and elevated lipoprotein (a) levels. This was very concerning to both my husband and I and after speaking to our friend/cardiologist we needed to make some significant changes in our diet at home and we needed to begin educating our children about how to eat healthy and to make this a routine part of our lives. I didn't want any of my kids having a heart attack and dieing at the age of 29 because we didn't educate them about their disease.
So about 2 years ago Phil and I made a concerted effort to eat primarily organic, decrease our dairy intake, make exercise an important and everyday occurence in our house and educate our children with regards to the hazards of fast food. Actually, we haven;t had fast food ( minus pizza) in over 5 years. My daughter Shea and my son Cade have never tasted a Mcdonalds burger or fry in their lives, nor have they had soda. ( none of my kids have had soda which is great). Anyway, we talk a lot about reading food labels, looking for transfats,etc... but we still allow snacks and they get to have their cake and ice cream, etcc.. we just encourage them to eat there fruits and vegetables first and then they can have their main meal and if they are not full they can have a snack or dessert but not everyday. We didn't want to create an environment were you don't expose specific foods to a child and then they go and splurge on that food when they visit a friends house or when they are out of our care. We want them to make healthy choices and know their limits, to be smart about what they put in their bodies.
Anyway, the reason for this post is that my oldest who is 8 has recently ( over the past month or two) has been telling me he is fat, and patting his belly. He says it enough lately that I am getting concerned. He usually tells me after he eats a meal so I have been attributing it to him eating a bit too much during dinner and just feeling a bit bloated after his meal, but recently it has become a little bit more so. Now, my son is tremendously active, he eats very healthy, tons of fruit and vegetables, doesn't eat a ton of crap and so I thought he was all good. This has got me really upset. Have we gone overboard, do we talk about this too much that now he is afraid to eat things. My child is tall, lean and has a very athletic build, he doesn't have one once of fat on his body and even if he did I wouldn't be too concerned because I know he eats really well and exercises. Tonight we went for dinner and some of the meal was fried and he got really upset and came over to me at the table and lifted up his shirt and sad he was fat, then he said he was joking but then said he wasn't feeling well. I spoke to him at length and it basically came down to the fact that he didn't want to eat a ton of fried food and we was upset. He didn't feel like he had a ton of options. I told him he could have broiled fish like mommy but he didn't remember that.
Anyway, this is really upsetting to me to have an 8 year old worried about how his body image is, I dealt with that my whole life and I don't want any of my children to deal with that. My husband and I felt like we have been educating our children because we have to, they have familial hypercholesterolemia and its going to be with them the rest of their lives. I am struggling with how to go forward and what to do differently at home. I want to nip this in the bud.