Keeping an eye on our Cholesterol levels and making sure they are on track with what is healthy for our bodies is important for our overall state of health and wellbeing.
For this reason, it is deeply important that seniors and those who care for them keep themselves aware of the concerns that exist related to Cholesterol so that they can implement healthy lifestyle practices that aim to prevent the development of issues, or can better manage any concerns that have already started to impact seniors’ lives.
Cholesterol: The Basics
Cholesterol is a substance produced by the liver that also exists within certain foods. It is a fat-like waxy substance that travels through the bloodstream and is involved in the functioning of the body in its own unique ways. There are two different types of Cholesterol, High-density lipoprotein (HDL) and Low-density lipoprotein (LDL). The former assists the body by taking part in the prevention of heart attack and stroke, while the latter is the primary source of the high levels of Cholesterol that can negatively impact the body. For these reasons, the two types are known as “good Cholesterol” and “bad Cholesterol” respectively. It is also worth noting that about 75% of Cholesterol in the blood is made by the liver to perform specific functions, while the last 25% comes into the body through food (primarily from animal products).
Talk to a Doctor
The fact that not many outwardly detectable symptoms tend to accompany high Cholesterol to the extent that they interfere with people’s capacity to engage in their lives means that seniors with high Cholesterol might not be made aware of the problem until a healthcare professional performs a blood test and identifies the issue. It is particularly important that seniors have their Cholesterol levels checked on a routine basis, because Cholesterol levels tend to rise with age. When high Cholesterol has been identified, doctors can prescribe medication when necessary, and can help to recommend lifestyle changes that can help seniors to better manage any associated issues.
Keeping Cholesterol in Check
To keep on track with upholding healthy functioning of the cardiovascular system, seniors need to work towards maintaining healthy levels of Cholesterol or lowering it if it has become too high. The following are some behavioural and lifestyle habits that can help to manage Cholesterol levels and keep them on the right track:
- Incorporate Physical Activity: Weight management is an important part of keeping Cholesterol levels in check and the combination of physical activity with a healthy diet can help the body in many ways. Regular exercise also has the ability to increase HDL levels and, in turn, decrease levels of LDL. Whatever form of physical activity or movement feels comfortable and accessible can make a significant difference.
- Eat Fruits and Veggies: Fruits and veggies have large amounts of soluble fiber which can help to lower Cholesterol, and plant foods are also low in saturated fat so they will help keep LDL within the healthy range.
- Quit Smoking: Smoking is harmful for the body in a whole host of ways, but can have a huge impact on the cardiovascular system, so it is important to stop smoking entirely to keep the heart and circulation going as they should.
- Eat the Right Fats: Trans fats are often added to store-bought foods to lengthen their longevity, but these fats can be damaging to the body if consumed regularly. Saturated fats come from animal products and can negatively impact heart-health, so it is best to moderate consumption of animal-based and packaged foods to make sure they are eaten in healthy amounts. Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats on the other hand can contribute to the lowering of LDL, and these fats can be found in sources such as avocados, soybeans, nuts, and seeds.
By incorporating purposeful and healthy lifestyle practices into their lives, seniors can work towards better managing their Cholesterol in a healthy way. Seniors in North and West Vancouver should meet with a healthcare professional on a regular basis to check in and make sure that their levels of Cholesterol are within the healthy range, as well as to talk through options and recommendations should any issues come to light.