High cholesterol raises the risk for heart attacks, strokes, heart disease, and other health issues which could drastically affect your life. It’s crucial for a person at any age to take care of their cholesterol levels, especially Seniors, who are more likely to have weakened immune systems or heart issues. There are numerous ways to prevent high cholesterol levels and the development of health issues later on in life.   LDL stands for low-density lipoprotein; this is the “bad” cholesterol which transports particles through your body and builds up in arteries. High-density lipoprotein, or HDL, is the “good” cholesterol, patrolling your body and picking up any excess cholesterol for transport back to the liver.  

Causes of High Cholesterol

  There are numerous causes of high cholesterol from factors we are in control of, such as lifestyle choices, to factors we are not in control of, such as genetics. Unhealthy lifestyle choices including smoking, inactivity, or poor diet are all factors.   Unhealthy levels of cholesterol could also be caused by medical conditions such as kidney disease, hypothyroidism, lupus, and other conditions. High cholesterol is a more common concern for people over 40 years old, due to the the inability of the liver to remove LDL cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol).  

Smoking & Alcohol Use

  Studies show smoking and drinking alcohol lead to higher cholesterol and other health issues. Smoking lowers your “good” cholesterol levels and increases your risk for heart complications and cancer; drinking also leads to increased anxiety and stress and increases your overall cholesterol levels.  

Diet & Exercise

  The tried-and-true method to leading a healthier life is diet and exercise! Diet majorly affects one’s overall health. A balanced diet free of high levels of salt and fat helps prevent health complications later in life. Some deliciousand cholesterol-lowering foods include:  
  • Oats and Whole Grains- oatmeal and other oat-based foods are rich in soluble fiber and help get cholesterol circulating, preventing build-up.
  • Beans- packed full of soluble fiber gets the digestive system moving! In addition, beans also make you feel fuller, helping in the weight loss journey.
  • Vegetable Oils- great substitutes for fatty oils such as butter, lard, or shortening and helps lower LDL.
  • Apples, Strawberries, and Citrus- an apple a day? Try a whole orchard! Fruits are rich in soluble fiber called pectin, which lowers LDL and provides vital antioxidants.
  • Fatty Fish- fish two or three times a week lowers LDL levels and provides omega-3 fats, which boosts LDL levels.
  • Nuts- LDL isn’t too nuts about this food. Nuts such as almonds, walnuts, and peanuts are good for heart health and lower LDL levels.
  Exercise is also crucial to lowering cholesterol levels and keeping them in check. Exercise doesn’t have to be vigorous and time-consuming. Instead, there are many exercises perfect for Seniors on the go, such as a quick yoga session or taking a walk around the neighborhood. Or, if you have balance issues, try out some chair exercises daily to keep your joints moving and LDL levels down.  

Medication Use & Interactions

  One of the most common ways to keep your cholesterol in check is taking medication. Many older Americans, and younger ones, take cholesterol-lowering medications to stay in a healthy range and prevent complications.   It’s important to do extensive research on the medications you and your Senior loved ones are taking. Some high cholesterol medications may have negative interactions with other drugs. Consult a doctor or a pharmacist in-depth about the current medications you are taking and be honest about any side effects you have.   At Bridge to Better Living of Northern Kentucky, we consider your health needs when consulting you about your options for your future home. Bridge to Better Living of Northern Kentucky takes away the LDL-producing stress and worry of finding you or your Senior loved one the perfect community and helps add some HDL to your life through encouraging and promoting healthy habits.  Contact us today to get in touch with a Senior Transition Consultant!