Since there are no observable symptoms associated with simply having elevated cholesterol levels, it’s often easy to overlook a potential problem until a related condition like heart disease is diagnosed. Being more informed about high cholesterol can help at-home caregivers and their senior loved ones take preventative steps to keep cholesterol levels in check. As a leading Lehigh Valley senior care agency, here are a few things about cholesterol we hope family members and their senior loved ones will keep in mind.
Types of Cholesterol
High-density lipoprotein and low-density lipoprotein are the two types of cholesterol. HDL (“good”) cholesterol helps prevent cholesterol build-up in arteries. LDL (“bad”) cholesterol is primarily responsible for elevated cholesterol levels that can present numerous health risks. However, a recent study found that LDL helps increase muscle mass, suggesting that there’s a positive role for both HDL and LDL cholesterol to play within the body.
Sources of Cholesterol
Three-quarters of cholesterol in the human body is generated by the liver to assist with digestion and the production of hormones. The rest of the cholesterol in the body comes from food sources. In some people, too much cholesterol is produced, resulting in elevated levels and increased health risks.
Seniors and Cholesterol
The combined total of HDL and LDL cholesterol shouldn’t exceed 200 milligrams per deciliter of blood. Cholesterol screening is important for seniors since levels naturally increase with age, especially in post-menopausal women. Lowering cholesterol may have the following benefits for seniors:
• Decreased risk of plaque formation in arteries
• Reduced risk of having a heart attack or suffering a stroke
• Improved memory and cognitive functioning, according to some studies
A blood test can determine if your senior loved one has high cholesterol. Seniors with a family history of heart disease or preexisting conditions like diabetes should have regular tests more frequently to determine if it’s necessary to start cholesterol-lowering medications. Caregivers can also help senior loved ones maintain optimal cholesterol levels by encouraging healthy eating habits and regular exercise.
Learn more about helping a senior loved one maintain health and wellbeing from Home Care Assistance. We offer hourly, respite, and live-in senior care in the Lehigh Valley, ensuring seniors have the support necessary to stay healthy and safe in the comfort of their homes. Give us a call at 484-350-3874 for more information or to schedule a complimentary in-home consultation.