High cholesterol can be deadly. This article is a caregiver’s guide to managing cholesterol in your older patients, who might be facing problems like heart disease and stroke due to the build-up of cholesterol in their bodies.
If you are over 25, you must already know something about cholesterol levels in the human body. However, little or no knowledge about bad cholesterol in our bodies can lead to some severe health conditions, including cardiovascular diseases, high blood pressure, and more.
It is essential to learn and understand how to maintain the right cholesterol levels to help your elders and loved ones deal with the same as a caregiver.
This little guide shall thus, help you understand and manage cholesterol to be an excellent caregiver to the people around you.
What Is Cholesterol?
A waxy, fat-like substance naturally produced in the liver, cholesterol is a part of any healthy body. It helps create new cells, hormones, and bile acids that help in the digestion process.
However, too much of it in the bloodstream can cause two problems. It cannot be burned off from the body like other fats, and thus, its level needs to be maintained within limits to stop triggering health issues.
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Types of Cholesterol
There are two types of cholesterol in our bodies – good cholesterol (High-Density Lipo-Protein or HDL) and bad cholesterol (Low-Density Lipo-Protein or LDL).
HDL lessens the chances of getting health problems since it transfers the cholesterol to the liver where it is excreted, which is not the case with LDL.
What causes high cholesterol?
There are several causes of high cholesterol. Some of the common ones are listed below –
- Physical inactivity
- Bad lifestyle
- Poor diet and more
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What Happens if Cholesterol Remains Unchecked?
The persistent high cholesterol levels may result in the fatty plaques that build up in your arteries slowly over time and block the free flow of blood. If the cholesterol levels remain untreated, then, following health conditions can come up:
Coronary heart disease happens due to reduced blood flow due to blockages in the arteries. If a blood vessel gets blocked completely, it can lead to a heart attack, which is life-threatening.
Another condition that can come up if cholesterol remains unchecked is stroke, which happens when a vessel carrying blood to the brain is blocked.
People with diabetes, especially those with type 2 diabetes, tend to have low HDL and high triglycerides, which increase the risk of heart diseases.
High blood pressure
Inflammation is a common problem that results from high cholesterol. Inflammation releases certain hormones that tighten the blood vessels, which might increase the blood pressure in a person.
Several other problems show up due to high cholesterol levels like tiredness, fatigue, mood swings, etc. Thus, it is essential to take care of your body before it gets too late.
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How To Maintain Cholesterol Levels as a Caregiver?
Thankfully, keeping cholesterol levels in your body and those you love can be pretty straightforward. Cholesterol cannot be burned like other fats, but it can be maintained.
If you are a caregiver to your parents, children, or a loved one, then you can bring the following simple yet effective changes in their lives to bring down high cholesterol in their bodies.
Some of the best and most successful ways to do the same are mentioned below.
From leisure strolls to yoga and breathwork, everyone must move their bodies daily to maintain cholesterol, especially the older generations, since they are more prone to it.
It also helps in managing stress and anxiety. As a caregiver, if you are working, then hire a caretaker for your loved ones to help them exercise responsibly.
Have a healthy cholesterol diet
Less than 10% of calories from saturated fat and consuming more unsaturated fats is the apt diet to maintain one’s healthy cholesterol levels. Regular consumption of omega-2 fatty acids (almonds, walnuts, fatty products) is also a great way to keep the stories in your body.
The pressures of our professional and personal lives are such that we resort to some terrible habits like smoking, which elevates triglycerides and low-density lipoproteins, which increase the risk of heart diseases.
Thus, you must encourage your loved one to quit or at least reduce the number by consulting a doctor and finding ways to cope.
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Getting regular health-check-up
The best way to keep your cholesterol at bay is to get your tests done every six months and encourage your friends and family to do the same. As a caregiver, you can also accompany them to the doctor during the check-ups and learn about cholesterol regularly.
Eggs and Cholesterol
As per studies, a single egg with medium size contains at least 186 mg of cholesterol, which is 62% of the recommended daily intake for maintaining cholesterol.
The white part of an egg is rich in protein and low in cholesterol, and thus, it is recommended to have 2 to 6 yolks in a week to have a healthy cholesterol level.
How many eggs are too much?
However, it is essential to note that all eggs do not come from the same place, and most of them (the ones we buy at supermarkets) are factory-raised.
Thus, as a caregiver, you must get omega-3 enriched eggs or those from hens raised on pasture for maintaining healthy cholesterol levels in your relatives.
While the research in the area is still lacking, science has cleared that having three eggs a day is completely fine for the cholesterol levels to remain balanced in the body.
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High cholesterol is not a good sign, but thankfully, a good diet, exercise, and a significant lifestyle change can help control and manage. It is, thus, essential to take your loved ones and yourself for regular health check-ups every six months.
We hope this little guide has inspired you to make the necessary lifestyle changes to move towards a low cholesterol level in your body. If you have questions about our article or more doubts in general, feel free to drop us a ping and we will try to answer you quickly.
Lastly, feel free to share this article with others who are looking to understand and reduce their cholesterol levels.