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Ignorance Isn’t Bliss: What You Should Know About High Cholesterol

By Erik Gans, 9:00 am on

Over 102 million adults in the U.S. have high cholesterol, although many do not realize the very real consequences of high cholesterol levels. High cholesterol is a silent killer, increasing the risk of stroke, heart disease, and heart attack–usually with no symptoms at all. Here’s what you, your senior loved one, and his or her caregiver in Fairfield should know about cholesterol levels. 

What Is Cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a waxy substance that’s made by the liver and found in many foods. Cholesterol circulates through the blood and serves an important function although too much can harm blood vessels and the heart. 

There are actually two forms of cholesterol: high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or “good” cholesterol, and low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or “bad” protein. HDL cholesterol helps prevent LDL cholesterol from building up in the blood stream but LDL cholesterol is usually responsible for dangerously high cholesterol levels. 

Most people do not realize they have high cholesterol because it has no outward symptoms. Detecting high cholesterol is simple with a blood test, however. Most Fairfield elder care professionals advise seniors to have their cholesterol levels checked every few years, more often if they have risk factors for high cholesterol.

Why Is High Cholesterol Dangerous?

According to the CDC, one in six adults have high cholesterol, although seniors are at a higher risk because cholesterol tends to increase as we age for a number of reasons. High cholesterol interferes with how blood flows and it can lead to plaque buildup in the arteries, blockages in the brain, chest pain, heart attack, stroke, and gallstones. This risk is very real: More than 27 percent of all deaths among seniors are attributed to heart disease. 

Help your senior loved one guard against the dangers of high cholesterol by encouraging him or her to have cholesterol levels checked often and avoiding foods high in cholesterol such as butter, bacon, red meat, and cheese. If your senior loved one could use additional support adopting healthy lifestyle habits, consider part-time senior care in Fairfield from Home Care Assistance. A professional caregiver can grocery shop, cook nutritious meals, and provide support during exercise. Call 203-955-1915 and speak with a friendly Care Manager today to learn more.