When it comes to heart health, the prescriptions are often the same: eat well, get some exercise, and watch what you eat. But many Americans fall short in keeping their cholesterol at a healthy level. Over 100 million Americans have high cholesterol, and 35 million have levels high enough to put them at a significant risk for heart disease. This situation can affect people of all ages, from children to seniors. However, seniors may be at greater risk for high cholesterol than other age groups.
Paired with other factors, cholesterol can become a dangerous contributor to heart disease. As a piece of the overall puzzle, the approach to treating this disorder should vary depending on the patient’s needs. National Cholesterol Education Month this September is a great opportunity for seniors to learn more about how best to manage this important health issue.
Good vs. Bad Cholesterol
Cholesterol is a white, fatty substance primarily produced by the liver. Poor diet and lack of exercise are both factors that cause this substance to build up in the arteries. Other risk factors, such as genetics, may be unavoidable. If a family member has high cholesterol, you may want to keep a close eye on your own.
The human body does need some cholesterol to function properly. The “good” form is called high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. HDL cholesterol plays many vital roles, from aiding in cell and hormone production to regulating digestion. It also can help lower a person’s harmful levels, which is known as low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. LDL cholesterol is the stuff our doctors warn us about: it builds up in the arteries and can lead to serious complications.
The amount of cholesterol generally considered healthy for seniors is about 200 milligrams per decilitre (mg/dl). Ideally, a senior’s LDL level should be less than 100 mg/dl. However, factors such as lifestyle and medical history may play a role in what your specific cholesterol goals should be. Talk to your doctor about what number you should aim for, and how best to accomplish it.
There Are Many Simple Ways To Lower Cholesterol
Luckily, many effective treatments for high cholesterol are simple and easy to do at home. The first and most common prescription is to eat healthier foods. This means avoiding red meat and processed sugars and eating more fruits and vegetables. Exercise is another easy way to lower cholesterol. Walking for about half an hour every day can make a big difference in your cholesterol levels and offer many other health benefits. Another conscious lifestyle change is to give up smoking. Smoking can reduce HDL and damage blood vessels, increasing the risk of heart attack or stroke. Medication is also an option, although the risks of polypharmacy and the fact that statins may become less effective with age mean they are not a cure-all.
However, as easy as these steps may seem, many seniors may struggle to implement them. Some seniors may suffer from mobility issues, and others may struggle to plan a menu that provides both nutrition and enjoyment. A home caregiver can help overcome these barriers so that seniors can effectively manage their cholesterol. With the support of Generations Home Care professionals, seniors can get help in preparing a healthy cholesterol-oriented meal plan that accounts for personal taste and preferences. A caregiver can help seniors with mobility issues get around, as well as running errands and doing grocery shopping. With a Generations caregiver on hand, keeping cholesterol levels low and reaping the benefits of a healthy lifestyle has never been more attainable.
About Generations Home Care
Generations Home Care personalized in-home care and support services help those recovering from illness, injury, or surgery, living with a chronic disease, or dealing with the natural process of aging. We help people live a fuller, healthier, and independent life.
Our caregivers are trained in the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommended COVID-19 safety precautions. We offer levels of care ranging from companionship, to respite for the primary family caregiver, to homemaking services, to assistance with activities of daily living, to Alzheimer’s and dementia care. Generations Home Care takes a holistic approach and emphasizes a consistent, client-centered plan of care.
Our Specialty Services Include:
- Rehab or hospital-to-home programs for safe discharge.
- Short-term post-operative care during recovery periods.
- Non-medical life management services for people with chronic conditions.
- Veteran’s connection to care program.
- Live-in services and couples care.
If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you, contact us today at 602-595-HOME (4663) or by filling out the contact form on our website.