The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that 71 million people in the United States have high cholesterol, but less than half of them receive any kind of medical treatment for it. That’s a scary statistic because of the serious complications that can occur when high cholesterol goes untreated.
What is Cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a substance that is mainly produced by the liver, but some foods also contain cholesterol. It has a wax-like consistency and is present in most cells of the body as well as in the blood. In the bloodstream, cholesterol travels in lipoproteins, which are like little packages.
There are two kinds of cholesterol:
-Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL): LDL cholesterol is the “bad” cholesterol that creates plaque in arteries.
-High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL): This is the kind of cholesterol that is usually referred to as “good cholesterol.” HDL cholesterol picks up LDL cholesterol in the bloodstream and takes it to the liver where it can be eliminated from the body.
High cholesterol can be genetic, but it is more often than not caused by making unhealthy choices. Therefore, if your aging family member is at risk for high cholesterol, making changes, like following a healthy diet and exercising, can reduce their risks.
What Are the Complications Associated with High Cholesterol?
When high cholesterol is not treated, it puts a person at higher risk of developing a whole host of diseases, including:
-Atherosclerosis: When plaque builds up in the arteries it causes them to become narrow and hard. This restricts the flow of blood to the heart and other areas of the body.
-Stroke: If a plaque breaks off or a blood vessel becomes completely blocked, it may cut off blood flow to the brain, causing a stroke.
-Heart Attack: When blood flow to the heart is blocked, it causes a heart attack.
-Gall Stones: Excess cholesterol in the blood can lead to the formation of gallstones.
-Leg Numbness: Blocked arteries can result in a feeling of numbness in the legs and feet.
Home care can help your parent to reduce their risks for high cholesterol or manage existing high cholesterol. A home care provider can prepare healthy meals that are low in sodium and fat but include lots of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Home care providers can also encourage older adults to exercise. If your aging relative smokes, a home care provider can help to distract them when they feel the urge to smoke. Also, having a home care provider present may make a senior-less likely to “sneak” a cigarette.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering Home Care in Wilmette, IL, call the caring staff at LifeCare In-Home Care and Home Health Services. Call (888) 606-4199 LifeCare serves all of the Chicago Metro Area.
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