September is Cholesterol Education month. While most people know that high cholesterol is a problem, they may not know much about the condition and how it affects the body. Knowing more about high cholesterol can help family caregivers to take better care of their aging relatives.
Cholesterol exists in every cell of the body. It is usually described as “waxy” and “fat-like.” It’s a necessary substance that the body uses in hormone and vitamin D production. It is also involved in digestion.
There are three kinds of cholesterol:
-High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL): HDL cholesterol is the good kind. It picks up excess cholesterol and delivers it back to the liver. The liver then eliminates the cholesterol from the body.
-Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL): LDL is the bad kind of cholesterol. It combines with other substances in the body to create plaque. Plaque builds up in the arteries, causing atherosclerosis, which can lead to blockages in the arteries.
-Very Low-Density Lipoprotein (VLDL): VLDL is another kind of bad cholesterol. It is also involved in creating plaque. However, it differs from LDL because it transports triglycerides, a kind of fat, rather than cholesterol.
The body produces as much cholesterol as it needs. However, cholesterol is also present in many foods, like eggs, meat, and dairy products.
Causes of High Cholesterol
Most cases of high cholesterol are caused by leading an unhealthy lifestyle. Causes of high cholesterol include:
-Unhealthy Diet: Eating a diet that contains too much of certain kinds of fats contribute to high cholesterol. Saturated fats should be limited. They are found in some kinds of meat, dairy, processed foods, baked goods, and some other foods. Trans fats, which are found in processed and fried foods, should be avoided as much as possible.
-Not Exercising: Being inactive decreases the amount of good cholesterol in the blood.
-Smoking: Cigarette smoking both lowers good cholesterol and raises bad cholesterol.
-For some people, genetics can also play a role. Familial hypercholesterolemia is a condition that is passed down through generations. There are also some medications that can increase blood cholesterol levels.
If your aging relative has high cholesterol, senior care can help them to manage the condition. Some older adults consume an unhealthy diet because they have difficulty cooking for themselves or because they don’t enjoy cooking. Senior care providers can plan and cook meals that contain lots of healthy fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins.
Senior care providers can also encourage more physical activity by inviting older adults to go for walks with them or to be involved in household tasks. Or, if your family member would enjoy a group fitness class, a senior care provider can drive them to the class.
If you or an aging loved one are considering Homecare in Mission Viejo, CA, or the surrounding Orange County areas, please call us at 949-535-2211 or CLICK HERE to get more information We provide senior care services in Newport Beach, Costa Mesa, Huntington Beach, Irvine, Laguna Woods, Laguna Beach, Mission Viejo and surrounding areas of Orange County California. Contact us today to learn more.