By now it should be no surprise to hear that heart disease is one of leading causes of death in the United States. Contributing to about 1 in 4 deaths every year, there’s good reason behind our nationwide concern over issues like high cholesterol, one of the more commonly responsible causes of heart disease. And seeing how heart concerns become all the more frequent as we age across the board, knowing what exactly adds to the buildup of bad cholesterol is one of senior caregiver’s primary responsibilities.
What is cholesterol? What differentiates good and bad cholesterol? How can I treat unhealthy amounts of bad cholesterol? In the face of these concerned and varied questions, our team is eager to provide some answers and put those worries to rest. Read on for a bit of a primer and some recommendations on how to work on lowering high cholesterol and ensure you senior enjoys a healthy and fulfilling life with his or her loved ones.
Obviously, addressing the problem first asks of us to understand the problem inside and out. That begins first and foremost with a clear and concise definition for the ever-notorious “cholesterol”. Cholesterol is a waxy, insoluble substance that can be found in the bloodstream. Contrary to what many may believe, cholesterol actually serves some pretty constructive purposes within the body including producing certain hormones and vitamin D, aiding in the production of bile, and even making new cells! It’s when we move on to the more nefarious forms of cholesterol that we begin to see cause for concern.
We’ve all heard the old distinction between what we label as “good” and “bad” cholesterol. The former is what’s referred to as HDL, or high-density lipoprotein. This is the substance responsible for clearing out the less friendly variant of cholesterol LDL, or, you guessed it, low-density lipoprotein. LDL is what’s responsible for the buildup of plaque along the artery walls, which results in restricted blood flow to the heart and, in turn, heart disease.
So now that the stage is set and we have a more in-depth understanding of what our true target is, the natural question asked is what tools or methods can we employ to combat LDL cholesterol? The answer, as worn and repeated as it may be, is diet and, wait for it, exercise. Before you start rolling your eyes and spamming the back arrow, know that a sedentary lifestyle has been proven to be one of, if not the most, influential causes of increased cholesterol and heart disease. Fortunately, unless you’re noticeably overweight (in which case, adopting a plan to drop extra pounds may be necessary), combating cholesterol doesn’t necessarily mean you need to start bulking up with protein shakes and slamming barbells half your weight at the gym. Doing anything to avoid having an overly sedentary lifestyle, such as periodic walks, gardening, or even light movement exercises, can do wonders for lowering you or your senior’s cholesterol levels.
As far as diet and nutrition are concerned, we’ve also covered some recommendations in regards to food and even ways of implementing those dietary changes into your senior’s routine in previous posts!
Whether you’re looking after a loved one or yourself, staying on top of your nutrition and cholesterol levels is an absolute must. There’s no denying the dangers of heart disease and if all it takes are a few lifestyle changes to eradicate the possibilities of you or a senior suffering from these complications, we’d say it’s well worth it!