Cholesterol Treatments for Seniors.
In recent years, medical experts have shed light on new insight about cholesterol treatments for seniors. Cholesterol is a waxy substance made by your liver and has many important functions for your body. You can also get cholesterol from food. Your body does need it to build cells, so it’s not inherently bad for you. But too much cholesterol can cause problems.
When cholesterol joins with fats and other substances in your blood, it accumulates and can build up in your arteries’ inner walls causing your arteries to become clogged and narrowed. This reduces your blood flow, increasing your risk of heart disease, heart attack and death.
Cholesterol does not dissolve in water. It’s carried through the body by molecules called lipoproteins. High levels of low-density lipoproteins (LDL) result in cholesterol deposits in blood vessel walls that contribute to heart disease. But high-density lipoproteins (HDL) help transport cholesterol away from vessel walls and back to the liver.
This video from the American Heart Association offers a great overview of cholesterol in under three minutes:
How Can Seniors Reduce Cholesterol?
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to manage high cholesterol in older adults. According to John Hopkins Medicine, seniors and their doctors should consider the big picture. Their guidelines suggest that in treating patients over age 75, medical clinicians should pay attention to the potential for negative drug interactions.
Total cholesterol of less than 200 is the recommended level. Ideal LDL cholesterol level should be less than 100 and below 70 if coronary artery disease is present. Ideally, HDL cholesterol level should be close to 60 or higher for men and 50 or higher for women. Triglycerides should be less than 149 with the ideal being <100.
Lifestyle Interventions Are the First Line of Treatment:
There are many valuable ways to lower your cholesterol naturally. Lifestyle changes make high cholesterol very treatable. If your cholesterol is out of balance, here are some risk factors you can control yourself to avoid serious health problems:
- Lose weight
- Eat nutritiously
- Be active
- Don’t smoke
What to Include in Your Diet to Meet Cholesterol Guidelines for Seniors.
Before you begin a change in your diet, check with a dietician or your doctor. Food is an all-natural way to get more heart-healthy vitamins, minerals and nutrients into your body and you can discuss your preferences with your physician. For best results to reduce your cholesterol, your diet should include:
- Foods low in saturated and trans fats such as a range of fruits and vegetables.
- Skinless poultry and lean meats.
- Lean red meat and pork labeled “loin” and “round” for the least amount of fat.
- Fatty fish such as salmon, trout, albacore tuna and sardines.
- Whole-grain bread, cereal, pasta and brown rice.
- Fat-free, 1% and low-fat milk products.
- Unsalted nuts, seeds, and legumes including dried beans or peas.
- Vegetable oils including canola, corn, olive, or safflower oils.
Treatments for Cholesterol include Statins.
Statins are drugs that lower your cholesterol, but if you are age 75 and older, this drug may not be the best idea because there is no proven evidence that high cholesterol leads to heart disease and or death. And, compared to younger adults, senior adults are more likely to suffer serious side effects from using statins including pains, muscle problems, and weakness. Statins have also been reported to cause falls, memory loss, nausea and constipation in older adults. They also can increase the risk of type 2 diabetes and cataracts as well as harm the liver, kidneys, and nerves.
Seniors should take statins if they have had a heart attack, stroke, or mini-stroke because they can help prevent the onset of a second heart attack or stroke. Speaking with your doctor about the risks and benefits of statins and your health concerns is advisable. Seniors should have their cholesterol levels checked every four to six years through a simple blood test that’s quick and easy.
When You Need a Resource, Count on Willow Care.
The residents at Willow Care partake in many methods to help control cholesterol levels including delicious nutrient-filled meals, fitness opportunities and customized treatments administered by top medical professionals. For more health information to meet your specific needs, contact us for a no-obligation discussion.