How Older Adults Can Maintain Healthy Cholesterol Levels

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The risk for heart attacks and strokes rises as people age. Risk factors for these diseases include high blood pressure, diabetes, renal disease, obesity, and high cholesterol levels. 
Fortunately, there are several ways to maintain healthy cholesterol past age 65 and diminish the risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

Exercise

Obesity and a sedentary lifestyle are risk factors in the development of high cholesterol. Even mild forms of exercise can promote weight loss and subsequently lower elevated lipid levels. Encourage your aging loved one to take a walk after meals if he or she is able. Even a modest loss of a few pounds may result in lower cholesterol levels. Before encouraging your loved one to engage in a new exercise regimen, discuss it with a physician to make sure your loved one is healthy enough to withstand a new activity program. 

For many seniors, exercising without assistance can be challenging. Milford in-home care professionals can be a wonderful boon to seniors. Whether they require around-the-clock supervision or just need assistance with exercise and household tasks a few days a week, seniors can enjoy a higher quality of life with the help of trusted in-home caregivers.

Consume Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Healthy fats known as omega-3 fatty acids are abundant in fresh fatty fish such as salmon. These fats lower total cholesterol levels and raise levels of “good cholesterol,” otherwise known as high-density lipoproteins. Encourage your loved one to eat more fatty fish. However, if he or she is unable to tolerate fish, talk to the physician about taking fish oil supplements. While omega-3 fatty acids may have a positive effect on cholesterol levels, they can interact with certain medications. For example, if your loved one is taking prescription anticoagulant medications or a daily aspirin, the addition of fish oil supplements may raise the risk of abnormal bleeding. Fish oil and omega-3 fatty acids have powerful blood-thinning properties, and medical clearance should be secured before taking these supplements.

Take Statins

If your loved one’s cholesterol levels remain abnormal despite dietary interventions, weight loss, and exercise, talk to his or her healthcare provider about prescribing statin medications. These medications work to lower total cholesterol and may also raise levels of high-density lipoproteins while lowering low-density lipoproteins, or “bad cholesterol.” However, statins can lead to side effects such as fatigue, gastrointestinal disturbances such as abdominal cramping, diarrhea, and constipation, abnormalities in liver enzymes, and severe muscle pain. While most of these side effects are temporary and dose-related, they may become so severe that your loved one needs to discontinue statin treatment. 

It’s crucial for seniors to keep track of their prescription medicines and use them safely as directed by their physician. However, they may need assistance with medication management. In Milford, senior home care providers can benefit aging adults in a variety of ways. From cooking nutritious meals to offering timely medication reminders, the dedicated caregivers at Home Care Assistance are available to help your elderly loved one 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Limit Coffee Intake

While coffee has some known health benefits, drinking too much can lead to elevated cholesterol levels in certain individuals. Coffee contains several antioxidants, but it also contains oily substances that may raise low-density lipoproteins. Also known as LDLs, these blood lipids play an important role in the development of heart attacks, strokes, and blood clots.

Seniors often need encouragement to make healthy lifestyle choices. However, many family caregivers have other responsibilities that prevent them from providing the support their loved ones need and deserve. Families who find it difficult to care for their aging loved ones without assistance can benefit greatly from professional respite care. Milford, Connecticut, family caregivers who need a break from their caregiving duties can turn to Home Care Assistance. Using our proprietary Balanced Care Method, our respite caregivers can encourage your loved one to eat well, exercise regularly, get plenty of mental and social stimulation, and focus on other lifestyle factors that promote longevity. To learn more about our customized respite care solutions, give us a call at (203) 444-8575 today.