How Does High Cholesterol Affect Seniors as They Age?

January 5th, 2017 by John Wilson

With age comes new health concerns. One of the biggest health risks facing seniors is regulating cholesterol. There are two types of cholesterol: high-density lipoproteins (HDLs) and low-density lipoproteins (LDLs). HDL is considered “good” cholesterol because it reduces the risk of heart attacks and strokes. LDL is considered “bad” cholesterol because excessive levels can cause plaque to build up in the arteries and increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

Like cholesterol treatment in middle-aged patients, cholesterol treatment in seniors usually involves prescription medications. However, medication alone usually isn’t enough to keep cholesterol at a healthy level in seniors. Assisted living healthcare in Oklahoma City involves not just medicating seniors, but also encouraging residents to make healthy choices that will benefit both physical and mental wellbeing.

Ready, Set, Go! Even Minimal Activity Is Good for the Body

Living a sedentary lifestyle increases the risks of developing high levels of bad cholesterol. Even seniors who have significant physical limitations can be active. Walking, chair yoga and lifting light hand weights all get the heart rate up and improve cardiovascular health. Most senior living facilities hold regular exercise classes that are designed to be modified to all ability levels. Any physical activity will help to lower levels of bad cholesterol in the body.

Cholesterol treatment in seniors means eating well.

Eating well is an effective cholesterol treatment in seniors.

Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Are Heart Healthy

Beyond prescription cholesterol-lowering drugs, the most effective and easiest to tolerate cholesterol treatment in seniors is eating a well-balanced diet. One of the major benefits of transitioning seniors into assisted living in Oklahoma is they’ll have easy access to three healthy meals per day. Many seniors who live alone subsist primarily on calorie-dense processed foods because they are cheap and easy to prepare. These foods are high in LDLs. Chefs at senior living centers prepare their menus with residents’ health in mind. Eating nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables is a win-win: These foods are nutritious, high in HDLs, low in LDLs and delicious!

A Laugh a Day May Help Keep the Doctor Away

Research shows there is a definite link between depression and low levels of “good” cholesterol. One reason is depressed seniors are more likely to turn to comfort foods that tend to be high in LDLs and low in HDLs. Additionally, depressed seniors often isolate themselves and fail to get enough physical activity or social interaction. Residents in assisted living in Oklahoma City are far less likely to become isolated and depressed. They’re surrounded by people and opportunities to engage and be active.

There are many benefits to transitioning seniors from independent living to assisted living. Beyond the obvious benefits (residents receive help getting dressed, bathing and managing their medications), simply being around other people is beneficial. Sometimes, social interaction is the best medicine. If you are researching assisted living facilities in the OKC area, contact us at Village at Oakwood to schedule a visit!

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