High Cholesterol and Seniors: the Cause, Symptoms, and Treatment Options


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High Cholesterol and Seniors: the Cause, Symptoms, and Treatment Options

Elder Care in Schaumburg, IL

Elder Care in Schaumburg ILA variety of factors can play a role in high cholesterol, including our diet, age, or even genetics. The American Heart Association describes the main cause to having a high cholesterol as consuming foods that are high in cholesterol, saturated fats, and trans fats, which can raise the blood cholesterol levels. Of course, it is not just about the food we eat or the genes we were born with, but also the way we live our lives. An elder who is accepting home care has a greater risk of having high cholesterol if they have a poor diet, do not exercise regularly, smoke, or have high blood pressure. If the high blood cholesterol continues to rise with no treatments, it could build up in the blood vessels that pump blood to the heart, resulting in heart disease. By knowing the facts, you will be able to help the older adult manage their cholesterol for a healthier body. 

The Meaning Behind Cholesterol Numbers

For anyone who has had their cholesterol checked, they have probably noticed a few categories on their health chart with numbers right next to them. Not all cholesterol is bad, but having an idea what each category is and if the senior receiving in-home care is maintaining excellent numbers will help determine whether or not they are where they should be.

Total cholesterol: Less than 200mg/dL is ideal, 200-239mg/dL is borderline high, and anything above 240mg/dL is considered high.

  • LDL (bad) cholesterol: Less than 100mg/dL is perfect, 100-129mg/dL is near perfect, 130-159mg/dL is bordering on high, and anything above 160mg/dL is high.
  • HDL (good) cholesterol: This is the cholesterol we want because it actually protects the heart against disease. The numbers should actually be high in this category because anything below 40mg/dL may pose as a risk for heart disease among everyone, including elders getting senior care.
  • Triglycerides: If the numbers are above 150mg/dL, it is time to seek treatment from their doctor because high triglycerides could also cause heart disease.

To get the most accurate numbers, a lipoprotein profile may need to be done, which is a blood test that requires between 9 and 12 hours of fasting for the most accurate results.

Treatment Options

While no treatment is available for people who have high cholesterol due to their age or genes, there are plenty of other options on the market that can greatly help reduce the LDL cholesterol levels.

Category I (high risk): If the LDL levels are dangerously high, it is time to start the "TLC diet", as referred to by the National Cholesterol Education Program. TLC stands for therapeutic lifestyle changes, which includes exercise and weight management. A drug treatment may also need to be started alongside the TLC diet.

Category II (second highest risk): If the LDL levels are above 130mg/dL, the TLC diet needs to begin right away. However, if this number is still high after 3 months, a drug treatment will be needed.

Category III (moderate risk): Similar to the Category II risk, use the TLC diet for 3 months, then ask your doctor about medication options.

Category IV (low to moderate risk): Use the TLC diet if LDL numbers are above 160mg/dL. After 3 months with very little movement in the numbers, talk to the doctor about medication options.

If the senior in your life who is accepting elder care is doing anything that may put them at risk for heart disease or a heart attack, motivate them to make changes for their health. Your elderly loved one should seek medical advice from their primary care physician before making any changes to their diet or exercise regime.


National Cholesterol Education Program. "High Blood Cholesterol: What You Need to Know."

If you or an aging loved one are considering homecare in Schaumburg, IL, or the surrounding areas, please contact SYNERGY HomeCare of Schaumburg at 630-984-2041.

Paul Fisher

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