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How Can High Cholesterol Impact a Senior’s Health?

Though it might be general knowledge that having high cholesterol levels is unhealthy, it’s important to know what these specific disadvantages are so seniors can work toward maintaining healthier levels. Westfield caregivers discuss some of the health concerns your senior loved one could face due to having high cholesterol. 

Causes Memory Loss 

High cholesterol causes blockage in the brain, leading to memory loss. The bad cholesterol also leads to brain inflammation, which causes neurodegenerative conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Be sure your loved one eats foods with plenty of high-density lipoprotein, which is the good cholesterol that has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that work to boost brain function and prevent memory loss. 

Here are a few foods that contain high-density lipoprotein:

  • Beans and legumes 
  • Whole grains 
  • Fatty fish
  • High-fiber fruits 
  • Olive oil 

Increases the Risk of a Heart Attack

Too much cholesterol in the blood builds up walls in the arteries and causes atherosclerosis, a form of heart disease. High levels of cholesterol narrow the arteries and slow or block the flow of blood and oxygen to the heart muscle. If there is not enough blood or oxygen to reach your loved one’s heart, he or she could experience a heart attack. Your loved one needs more high-density lipoprotein instead of low-density lipoprotein, also know as bad cholesterol. The high-density lipoprotein works to clear cholesterol from the blood. 

Weakens Bone Muscles

Seniors are more likely to slip and fall than any other age group, due to decreased muscle strength and poor balance. High levels of bad cholesterol lead to thinned and decalcified bones. The more bad cholesterol in the body, the more monocytes are created. Monocytes lead to osteoclasts, which eat away at bone structure. However, following a healthy diet and exercising on a regular basis can help your loved one lower his or her cholesterol and strengthen his or her bone muscle. 

Leads to Digestive Health Conditions

If your loved one’s cholesterol levels are too high, he or she could experience a bile imbalance, leading to gallstones. However, most gallstones are actually cholesterol stones. Too much cholesterol could also lead to a buildup of plaque in the arteries, blocking the flow of blood from the kidneys to the stomach. As a result, your loved one could experience abdominal pain, vomiting, bloody stools, and nausea. It is important to lower cholesterol levels and seek treatment because digestive conditions could lead to ulcers and other serious health issues. 

Your loved one should avoid eating foods known for bad cholesterol, such as:

  • Processed foods
  • Red meats 
  • Dairy foods
  • Foods containing trans fats (fried foods and snacks)

If your loved one needs help maintaining healthy habits, reach out to Home Care Assistance. Using the Balanced Care Method, our caregivers can encourage your loved one to exercise more often, eat healthier foods, and focus on other lifestyle factors that promote longevity. For more information on the elderly home care Westfield families trust, call one of our knowledgeable Care Managers at 908.450.9400 to schedule a no-obligation consultation.