Scheduling a visit to the Preventive Cardiology Clinic
Clinics are held at:
- Boston Children's Hospital—every Thursday morning
- Boston Children's Hospital at Lexington—all day Tuesdays and a Hypertension Clinic the 2nd Monday evening of each month.
- Boston Children's Hospital at Waltham—first, second and fifth Tuesday mornings each month
To schedule a visit at any location, call 617-355-2079.
For questions, contact the clinic at 617-355-0955.
Preparing for your child's visit
You'll be asked to keep track of everything your child eats and drinks, as well as the amount your child exercises, for three days in the week or two prior to the visit (exercise can include active play, sports or structured exercise, such as running on the treadmill).
Blood tests will require your child to fast prior to the blood draw. This means no eating or drinking anything other than water after 8 p.m. the previous night. We strongly encourage that all patients' laboratory work be taken and sent to the clinic prior to the visit, for the highest quality discussion with the clinician.
In addition to a physical exam during the visit, you'll be asked if your child has a family history of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes or obesity. Writing down a family history (including parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts and uncles) ahead of time is extremely helpful.
What to expect
After a thorough health evaluation, the clinic medical staff will develop a comprehensive plan for your child based on the causes underlying his or her abnormal cholesterol or blood pressure. For some, the plan includes a weight-loss component that incorporates heart healthy eating and exercise. In many children, when weight comes down, so does bad cholesterol and blood pressure. In addition to diet and exercise planning, the clinic offers long-term follow-up and routine monitoring of cholesterol levels, triglycerides, blood pressure and other important health indicators.
Successful treatment usually involves a lifetime commitment to healthy eating habits and exercise. In some cases, cholesterol-lowering medications or other medications for secondary illnesses may be incorporated. In children without a secondary illness, treatment with medication is typically secondary to making important lifestyle changes that will reduce your child’s risk for atherosclerosis while increasing stamina and helping him or her feel healthier and leaner.
The best approach is to make family-wide changes in eating and exercise. This makes change easier for your child; and often, multiple members of the family can benefit from making healthy changes, too. Utilizing different eating and activity plans for each family member can leave some children feeling singled out or isolated, making already difficult lifestyle changes even more so.
Changing the lifestyle of your family can be challenging. Rest assured that although there are no magic bullets, the clinicians, nurses and nutritionists at Children’s Hospital Boston have lots of experience helping thousands of parents facing the same challenges, and will offer strategies that have helped many other children and teens stick with the program.