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    A Look at High Cholesterol in Children

    Last updated 7 months ago

    Although high cholesterol has long been a problem for adults, pediatric specialists are increasingly diagnosing this health concern in children. In fact, children as young as nine have been found to have high cholesterol. Pediatricians are alarmed at this trend because high cholesterol in childhood sets the stage for serious health conditions later in life. Consider bringing your youngster to a local children’s hospital to ask about a cholesterol screening test.

    Understanding the Problem

    High cholesterol in children may often go undiagnosed because it isn’t commonly thought to be a problem for little ones. And while parents of overweight or obese children may be more likely to bring them to a children’s hospital for a cholesterol test, pediatric experts warn that even children of a healthy weight can be at risk of high cholesterol. High cholesterol in childhood contributes to atherosclerosis, a condition that can develop over many years. This significantly increases the risk of a child suffering a heart attack or other problem in adulthood.

    Identifying the Causes

    Being overweight or obese does indeed contribute to unhealthy cholesterol levels. However, children who spend two or more hours a day in front of a screen are at a particularly high risk. These lifestyle habits not only take the place of physical activity; they also contribute to unhealthy eating habits.

    Implementing Healthy Changes

    Fortunately, a few simple lifestyle modifications can restore your child or teen to health. Encourage your youngster to get at least one hour of exercise each day, whether that involves running around with his or her friends, or joining an exercise class. Replace the unhealthy fats in your child’s diet with monounsaturated fats from sources such as olive oil. Examples of unhealthy fats include butter and other fats that stay solid at room temperature. Additionally, restrict your child’s intake of commercially prepared foods whenever possible.

    Talk to a pediatric specialist at Sunrise Children’s Hospital to determine whether your child might benefit from a cholesterol test. If your child does have high cholesterol, the friendly staff at our children’s hospital can help you learn of healthy lifestyle changes to improve your child’s wellness. We encourage families in the Las Vegas area to call (702) 731-5437 to speak with a registered nurse about dietary matters.

    Starting Off the School Year with Better Eating Habits

    Last updated 7 months ago

    It’s all too common for children and teens to skip breakfast and choose junk food for lunch. Not only does this contribute to obesity; it also increases your child’s risk of serious health problems later in life. When children follow healthy eating habits early in life, they’re more likely to continue them into adulthood. Before the school year begins, consider bringing your youngster to your local children’s hospital and asking his or her pediatrician for nutritional guidance.

    Nutritional Breakfasts

    Help your child get into the habit of waking up early enough to eat a nutritious breakfast before school. By eating breakfast every day, your child will have more energy and be able to concentrate on his or her schoolwork. Additionally, kids who eat breakfast may be more likely to choose healthier foods for lunch. Avoid sugary kids’ cereals and instead offer your child a whole grain cereal topped with fresh fruit. Or, make a healthy breakfast burrito with a whole grain wrap filled with scrambled eggs and a little low-fat cheese.

    Healthy Lunches

    Now that the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act has been passed, schools are offering kids healthier lunches. If you’re packing your child’s lunch this year, aim for a balance of lean proteins, whole grains, and fresh produce. For example, instead of packing an applesauce cup, pack a container of fresh berries or melon cubes. If your child is bored of sandwiches, try making a turkey and melon wrap by spreading a flatbread with horseradish sauce. Then, add some turkey slices, lettuce, and cantaloupe cubes, and roll up.

    Smart Snacks

    Pediatrics experts recommend keeping a variety of healthy snacks in your home for your child when he or she returns from school. If you pre-slice apples, carrots, or other fruits and vegetables, your child may be less likely to reach for the chip bag.

    For more information about the specific nutritional needs of your child or teen, consult the pediatrics staff at Sunrise Children’s Hospital. Our children’s hospital in Las Vegas is devoted to helping area families improve quality of life with better health habits. Visit our children’s hospital on the Web to learn more or give us a call at (702) 731-5437.

    Could Your Child Have Sickle Cell Anemia?

    Last updated 7 months ago

    Sickle cell anemia is a serious type of inherited disorder. An individual with sickle cell anemia will manufacture crescent-shaped red blood cells, rather than disc-shaped red blood cells. The abnormally shaped blood cells tend to obstruct the flow of blood, causing a wide range of symptoms and complications. If your child displays some of the potential signs of sickle cell anemia, bring him or her to a children’s hospital promptly. At the children’s hospital, your child’s pediatric specialist will discuss treatment options that can minimize symptoms and reduce the risk of complications.


    Sickle cell anemia involves abnormal hemoglobin in the red blood cells. As a result, your child will feel symptoms related to anemia, such as fatigue. Anemia can also cause dizziness, headaches, shortness of breath, and jaundice. You may notice that your child’s skin is paler than usual or your child may report abnormal coldness in the hands and feet.


    Sudden, severe pain can cause your child to end up in the pediatric emergency department. Abrupt, systemic pain with sickle cell anemia is referred to as a sickle cell crisis. It happens when the abnormal red blood cells block blood flow, which causes both pain and organ damage. Acute pain with a sickle cell crisis may persist for several hours or perhaps over a week, while chronic pain may persist for months. Sometimes, a sickle cell crisis may be triggered by cold weather, second-hand smoke, dehydration, overexertion, and infections.


    Children with sickle cell anemia are at a high risk of certain complications, including life-threatening infections. They may also develop pulmonary hypertension, a condition that involves increased blood pressure in the lungs. Acute chest syndrome is another possibility; it involves symptoms such as chest pain, fever, and shortness of breath.

    If you suspect your child could have sickle cell anemia, bring him or her to Sunrise Children’s Hospital of Las Vegas right away. Our children’s emergency department is available for children who experience severe or otherwise urgent symptoms from this disease. You can reach the Consult-A-Nurse referral line for our children’s hospital at (702) 731-5437 to obtain a referral to a pediatric specialist.

    What Is CMV?

    Last updated 8 months ago

    Cytomegalovirus, or CMV, is the leading congenital viral infection in the United States. It affects about one in 150 births in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More children have disabilities relating to CMV than other, better-known conditions, including Down Syndrome, pediatric HIV/AIDS, and spina bidifda. The good news is that congenital CMV is preventable with a few steps.

    Moms-to-be should pay close attention to germ prevention. They should wash their hands frequently with soap and water for about 15 to 20 seconds. Many pregnant women pick up CMV via contacts with kids’ saliva or urine, especially if they are already mothers or work in schools. Report symptoms of CMV infection, such as fever, fatigue, and aches, to the doctor right away. Babies born to mothers with CMV can experience developmental difficulties, so reacting to expected infections quickly is important.

    The Level III NICU at Sunrise Children’s Hospital in Las Vegas is available to treat babies born with CMV infections or any other medical emergency. Call our pediatric hospital at (702) 731-5437 to get answers to your questions about our Mother & Baby services and more. 

    What to Do If Your Child Has a Broken Bone

    Last updated 8 months ago

    From playing on sports teams to horsing around in the back yard, active kids are prone to accidents, and broken bones are often part of the fallout. Breaking a bone can be painful for kids and scary for parents, but the good news is that most bones heal completely with treatment in a pediatric emergency room. Here are some things parents can do when they suspect their child has broken a bone.

    Recognize Broken Bone Symptoms

    In many cases, spotting a broken bone is simple. You or your child may actually hear the bone snap. Sometimes, you can see that the bone is misshapen, or it may even pierce the skin. In other instances, broken bones aren’t easy to see. There may just be tenderness and swelling at the site of the injury, and your child may be unable to put pressure on it. Any time you suspect your child has broken a bone, seek immediate emergency care, as leaving it untreated could lead to future complications.

    Prepare for Hospital Visit

    If your child’s injury is to the head or neck area, or if his or her bone has broken through the skin, call an ambulance rather than moving him or her. In other cases, try to stabilize the wound before going to the hospital. Remove clothing from the injured area if possible, but don’t force movement that causes pain. Apply cold compresses wrapped in cloth to ease pain. Create a makeshift splint by wrapping the injured spot with soft padding then securing something firm around the injured area with medical tape. Don’t allow your child to eat or drink in case he or she needs surgery.

    Go to the Emergency Room

    In the ER, doctors will decide if your child needs surgery to stability the bone, or if a cast will be enough. In addition to a cast, your child may need to use a sling to stabilize his or her fracture or crutches to get around.

    Sunrise Children’s Hospital’s emergency care center is ready to deal with all of your little one’s medical emergencies. Find out more about our pediatric services and everything we do at our Las Vegas children’s hospital by calling (702) 731-5437. 

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Disclaimer: The materials provided are intended for informational purposes only. You should contact your doctor for medical advice. Use of and access to this website or other materials do not create a physician-patient relationship. The opinions expressed through this website are the opinions of the individual author and may not reflect the opinions of the hospital, medical staff, or any individual physician or other healthcare professional.
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