high cholesterolKnowing what factors go into our cholesterol numbers is a significant part of knowing what to do about those numbers. Knowing what factors go into our cholesterol numbers is a significant part of knowing what to do about those numbers.

Seniors are recommended to have cholesterol levels lower than 200 mg/dL to maintain a healthy heart.

Low-density lipoproteins (LDL or “bad cholesterol”) should be less than 100 mg/dL for seniors, while high-density lipoproteins (HDL or “good cholesterol”) should be higher than 40 mg/dL for men and greater than 50 mg/dL for women.

As cholesterol ingested from our diet and produced in the liver flows through the body, it can build up in coronary arteries, which can decrease or block the flow of blood to the heart. This plaque buildup can lead to heart disease.

Other Factors In Heart Disease

While cholesterol can play a big part in our risk for heart disease, it must be considered just part of the heart health equation. Our cholesterol numbers can be more dangerous when paired with some of the following risk factors for heart disease:

  • Age (45 or older for men, 55 or older for women)
  • Smoking
  • Family history of heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes

Naturally, the body’s cholesterol levels rise throughout our lives to a peak around age 60, maintain that level as long as the person is relatively healthy, and decline in the later years.

Fighting High Cholesterol

Getting cholesterol numbers to ideal levels often boils down to three things: exercise, nutrition and medication.

  • Exercise: Even simple exercise and a less sedentary lifestyle can lower blood pressure, help maintain a healthy weight and make hypertension easier to handle. Walking is an easy activity that most seniors can do to help stay more active.
  • Nutrition: Choosing nuts and seeds, soy products and foods high in fiber (fruits, leafy vegetables) while limiting the amount of processed foods and fatty animal products can help reduce cholesterol levels and improve heart health.
  • Medication: Used when exercise and nutrition may not be enough, drugs such as statins are effective in lowering cholesterol and becoming more affordable. These drugs generally have few side effects but often require the patient to use them for the rest of their life.

For information on Embassy Healthcare’s cardiac care program or other services, call 888-975-1379 or schedule a tour of our facilities.