Two pairs of hands, one older and one younger, cup a small red heart which symbolized heart and cholesterol health in senior citizens.

Addressing High Cholesterol Problems in Seniors

0 Comment Category: Assisted Living

Managing cholesterol levels is very important to maintain good heart health as we age. Cholesterol can be found in certain foods and is necessary to support many bodily functions. However, high cholesterol levels can lead to an increased risk of heart attack and stroke, and it is even linked to Alzheimer’s disease. That is why it’s essential to understand how to manage high cholesterol problems in seniors.

Managing High Cholesterol in Seniors

Cholesterol comes in two types: high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL). HDL is more commonly known as good cholesterol as it helps to regulate cell creation, hormone production, and digestion. LDL can be viewed as bad cholesterol, as it can lead to the buildup of plaque in the blood vessels and arteries. This accumulation of plaque makes the heart work harder to pump blood to the body, leading to heart failure and other cardiovascular problems.

Generally, seniors’ healthy cholesterol level is below 200 mg/dl when taken as the total cholesterol count. Ideally, the LDL level should be 100 mg/dl and the HDL level above 50 mg/dl in women and 40 mg/dl in men. Seniors with diabetes or heart disease are recommended to maintain an even lower LDL level, preferably below 70 mg/dl. However, it is seen that as we age, our body produces more cholesterol. Combined with high-cholesterol foods like saturated vegetable oils and dairy products, this can lead to many health complications.

There are many other risk factors as well that could lead to high cholesterol levels in the body. This includes smoking and nicotine use, being overweight, following a diet high in fat and sugar, lack of exercise, leading a sedentary lifestyle, etc. People whose family history contains high cholesterol or heart conditions are also at an increased risk of developing high cholesterol during their later years. This is why seniors are recommended to check cholesterol levels regularly.

Although it may be frustrating to see a high cholesterol count on the test reports, the problem can be managed efficiently by making a few lifestyle changes and following a healthy diet. Seniors in assisted living communities can benefit from low-cholesterol meal plans and medication management services. The caregivers at the assisted living community will also help seniors monitor their daily habits and ensure that they lead a more active lifestyle. Below are some ways to manage high cholesterol problems in seniors.

·       Quit smoking – Smoking can lead to many health problems in seniors, and high cholesterol is just one. Quitting smoking habits can help seniors to manage cholesterol at the optimal levels while helping to avoid respiratory problems and other heart conditions as well.

·       Eat more fruits and vegetables – Including more leafy greens and fresh fruits in the diet can be of great help to lower high cholesterol count. Consuming more soluble fiber, which is found in fruits, beans, and oats, can reduce LDL cholesterol levels.

·       Choose the fat correctly – Eating the right kind of fat is vital to keep the cholesterol levels in check. It is recommended to avoid high-fat dairy products, red meat, and processed foods to maintain cholesterol levels. At the same time, eating healthy fats like nuts, olive oil, and avocados can help avoid high cholesterol.

·       Consume more omega-3 fatty acids – Including foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids in the diet, such as tuna, salmon, herring, flaxseed, chia seeds, walnuts, etc., can help to boost HDL cholesterol level in the body and chuck out LDL cholesterol.

·       Exercise regularly – Following a regular workout routine with at least 30 minutes of cardio exercise every day can help seniors lower their cholesterol levels to the most favorable point. It does not have to be a strenuous activity; a simple walking exercise in the morning or evening would do.

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