Published: Aug 11, 2016
Because there are seldom signs or symptoms of high blood cholesterol, many individuals are not aware that their cholesterol level may be too high. That’s why, starting as early as age 20, everyone should have cholesterol levels checked at least once every 5 years. People at risk or over 65 should discuss with their doctors how often they should be tested.
Low-density lipoproteins (LDL) carry cholesterol to all the cells in your body, including the arteries that supply blood to your heart. LDL cholesterol is sometimes called “bad” cholesterol because it can build up in the walls of your arteries. The higher the level of LDL cholesterol in your blood, the greater your chances of getting heart disease. High-density lipoproteins (HDL) carry cholesterol away from the cells in your body. HDL cholesterol is sometimes called “good” cholesterol because it helps remove cholesterol from your artery walls, then the liver removes the cholesterol from your body. The higher your HDL cholesterol level, the lower your chances of getting heart disease. When doctors talk about concerns over cholesterol, they are usually referring to LDL cholesterol.
The Dangers of High LDL Cholesterol
Cholesterol can build up on the walls of your arteries, the blood vessels that carry blood from the heart to other parts of the body. This buildup of cholesterol is called plaque, and can pose these health dangers:
Factors you cannot control: High blood cholesterol can run in families. An inherited genetic condition (familial hypercholesterolemia) results in very high LDL cholesterol levels. It begins at birth, and can cause a heart attack at an early age. Other factors you can’t control are related to age and sex. Starting at puberty, men have lower levels of HDL than women. As women and men get older, LDL cholesterol levels rise. Younger women have lower LDL cholesterol levels than men, but after age 55, women have higher levels than men.
Lowering Your Cholesterol Can Affect Plaque
Lowering your cholesterol level reduces your chances of plaque rupturing and causing a heart attack. It may also slow down, reduce, or even stop plaque from building up ─ and reduces your chances of dying from heart disease. Certain foods have types of fat that raise your cholesterol level.
What to avoid:
What you can do:
Other preventions include watching your weight ─ because being overweight tends to increase your LDL level, lower your high-density lipoprotein (HDL) level, and increase your total cholesterol level. It’s also good to be active. Regular exercise can help you lose weight and lower your LDL level while helping to raise your HDL level.
Comfort Keepers® can help. Our caregivers can help plan and prepare healthy meals for loved ones, and encourage them to stay active. They will also help them make healthier lifestyle choices, see that they take their medications, and help out with daily tasks around the home. Call your local office today to discuss all of our available services.
AgingCare.com. “High Cholesterol in the Elderly”. Web. 2016.
WebMD. “Are High Cholesterol Levels Bad for Older People? Web. 2016.
NIH Senior Health. “What is High Blood Cholesterol?” Web. 2016.
Centers for Disease Control (CDC). “Cholesterol Facts”. Web. 2015.