Why did you choose Endocrinology as your specialty?
I was fascinated by the way various hormones affect a child’s growth and development. I became interested in cholesterol when asked to treat an adorable 3-year-old with blood cholesterol over 1000 mg/dL! This was my first encounter with familial hypercholesterolemia (FH), a genetic condition that causes dangerously high levels of cholesterol. Untreated, FH can cause cardiovascular disease, such as a heart attack or stroke, in young adults. The good news is the condition is very treatable if identified early.
Lippy is really good at delivering cholesterol. What are you really good at?
I very much enjoy teaching – medical students, residents, and importantly, children and their families. I like to find out where people are for coming from and use examples to help them understand complex medical conditions and treatment. Hopefully, by approaching each child/family with understanding and compassion, I can reduce anxiety, enhance understanding, and make the child and family comfortable and confident with our recommendations. It is important for individuals with life-long medial conditions to develop a healthy self-esteem and bright outlook for the future. The best reward for me is when you can motivate children to help them achieve their goals and see the smiles on their faces when they succeed!
Now be honest…who is your favorite cholesterol friend?
Huddle. She cleans everything up. She’s an adorable character.
FAQ – If my child’s cholesterol levels are high, will they need to take medication?
Parents should understand that there is a lot of fact, as well as fiction, about cholesterol lowering medications. The child’s healthcare team is the best source of information. Parents shouldn’t fear the use of medications if the child’s healthcare team feels it is in his/her best interest. Children often do not react the same to medications as adults. Most children take a relatively low dose of medication, such as a statin. Therefore, unlike adults, children almost never have adverse events associated with the use of cholesterol medication. As of today, statins are the best medications for children to lower cholesterol to a safe level. That being said, there are exciting new medications in development. Whatever medications might be necessary for the child, early and effective lifelong lowering of cholesterol is the best way to keep the child “heart healthy”. Children who are taking lipid-lowering medications, such is statins, feel perfectly normal, while the family has the peace of mind that the condition is being effectively and safely managed.
FAQ – Why should I get my child’s cholesterol checked?
If there is a genetic problem causing high levels of cholesterol, heart disease can develop as children become young adults. After a couple of decades, arteries get clogged up. Often this is due to a genetic problem that a child inherits from one or both parents. If caught early, high cholesterol in children can be effectively and safely managed.
Interviewed December 11, 2015