Despite the fact that about one in every six adults, or roughly 17 percent of the U.S. adult population, has high cholesterol, many are not aware of the very real risks of the condition. Anyone can develop high cholesterol at any age, although the risk increases with age. High cholesterol is also one of the biggest risk factors for heart disease, the number one killer of seniors in the United States. Here’s what seniors and their families need to know about cholesterol, presented by Cincinnati Home Care Assistance.
1. There is no recommended minimum for dietary cholesterol
The liver produces 100 percent of the cholesterol the human body needs, which means you do not need any cholesterol from food. The American Heart Association recommends people get less than 300 mg of cholesterol per day or under 200 mg for those at risk, including seniors and people with high LDL cholesterol or heart disease, from dietary sources.
2. High cholesterol is often hereditary
Genetic factors are the most common reason people have high LDL cholesterol. Seniors who have a family history of high cholesterol or heart disease are at a higher risk.
3. Losing weight can reduce cholesterol
Seniors who are overweight are encouraged to shed at least five to 10 percent of their body weight as even this modest weight loss can significantly reduce cholesterol levels.
4. Women often develop high cholesterol after menopause
Most women have lower cholesterol than men prior to menopause. The hormonal changes of menopause generally cause HDL levels to fall and LDL, or “bad”, cholesterol levels to increase. By the age of 70, more women than men have high cholesterol.
5. Seniors should have their cholesterol levels checked regularly
How often men and women should get a cholesterol test depends on many factors including age, risk factors, and current cholesterol levels. Seniors may be advised to get their cholesterol levels checked annually or every few years, and identifying the problem early can help seniors combat high cholesterol through statins and lifestyle changes that can lower the risk of heart disease.
Learn more about senior health and wellness from Home Care Assistance, a trusted provider of live-in and hourly care as well as Alzheimer’s and dementia senior care in Cincinnati. Call a dedicated Care Manager today at 513.891.2273 and request an in-home consultation. We are here to help!