- With Mayo Clinic cardiologist
Thomas Behrenbeck, M.D., Ph.D.read biographyclose window
Thomas Behrenbeck, M.D., Ph.D.Thomas Behrenbeck, M.D.
Dr. Thomas Behrenbeck is a native of Germany, where he received his medical education at the Westfalian Wilhelm University in Munster and became board certified in internal medicine and cardiology.
He also received a Ph.D. in biophysics and physiology at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Behrenbeck joined the Mayo Clinic staff in 1990 and is currently an associate professor at Mayo Medical School and an academic faculty member at the Westfalian Wilhelm University. He is the past chair of the Cardiovascular Medicine & Surgery NetWork of the American College of Chest Physicians.
Dr. Behrenbeck is a noninvasive cardiologist, specializing in cardiovascular (CV) imaging modalities (echocardiography, nuclear cardiology and CT), coronary artery disease and prevention of coronary artery disease. His research interests are the application of imaging technology to early recognition and treatment of atherosclerosis. He is passionate about patients' involvement in their health issues.
"The Internet and patient education present ideal synergies in the ever-growing field of knowledge in cardiology," he says.
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High cholesterol in children: How is it treated?
How should high cholesterol in children be treated?
from Thomas Behrenbeck, M.D., Ph.D.
Treatment of high cholesterol in children is controversial. Many doctors think that diet and exercise are the best initial treatment for children age 2 and older who have high cholesterol or who are obese.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends treating high cholesterol in children with prescription drugs, such as statins, for children age 8 and older if a child has a high level of low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or "bad") cholesterol. This is because some researchers think that heart disease in adulthood can begin to develop early in a child's life if his or her cholesterol level is too high.
However, many doctors disagree that cholesterol-lowering drugs are an appropriate treatment, since little research has been done on the safety and effectiveness of these drugs in children. Some doctors also think few children have a cholesterol level high enough to require cholesterol-lowering drugs as treatment.
The long-term effects of using cholesterol-lowering drugs to treat high cholesterol in children haven't been studied much. In addition, certain cholesterol medications, such as niacin, aren't recommended for children because of safety concerns.
Because of disagreement in the medical community about treating high cholesterol in children, talk to your child's doctor about what's best for your child, including exercise and heart-healthy diet options.Next question
After a flood, are food and medicine safe to use?
- Daniels SR, et al. Lipid screening and cardiovascular health in childhood. Pediatrics. 2008;121:198.
- Ford ES, et al. Concentrations of low density lipoprotein cholesterol and total cholesterol among children and adolescents in the United States. Circulation. 2009;119:1108.
- Robbins DA. The safety and efficacy of statin therapy in the pediatric population. Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing. 2011;26:44.
- Iughetti L, et al. Evaluation and management of hyperlipidemia in children and adolescents. Current Opinion in Pediatrics. 2010;22:485.