An article posted on WebMD says that many Americans have “borderline high” cholesterol levels. And, one sixth of people in the U.S. have high cholesterol. Despite the fact that high cholesterol levels are extremely common, it is still a dangerous condition that can increase the risk of several serious health problems. Many people are unaware that high cholesterol is a significant risk factor for stroke.
Cholesterol is a kind of lipid, or fat, that can be found in all the body’s cells. It is also present in the bloodstream. It is usually described as being like wax. The body makes cholesterol. In fact, it produces all the cholesterol it really needs to function.
Cholesterol is also found in certain foods, like:
- Fried foods.
Causes of High Cholesterol
In some cases, high cholesterol is inherited. However, most of the time people develop high cholesterol over time because of unhealthy choices. Things that increase the risk of developing high cholesterol are:
- Consuming an unhealthy diet high in trans and saturated fats.
- Having a large waist (more than 40 inches for women and 35 inches for men).
- Not being physically active.
- Having diabetes.
How Cholesterol Contributes to Stroke
Having too much cholesterol in the bloodstream causes plaque to form on artery walls. As the plaque thickens, it restricts the flow of blood. Sometimes, a chunk of plaque breaks away and travels through the bloodstream where it can clog an artery that carries blood to the brain. The lack of blood flow to the brain causes a stroke.
Preventing High Cholesterol
Often when a person is diagnosed as having high cholesterol, the doctor suggests certain lifestyle changes to help lower cholesterol levels. The changes used to reduce cholesterol are the same as those used to prevent it from happening in the first place. They are:
- Eating a healthy diet that is low in sodium and includes lots of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.
- Smoking cessation.
- Eating a moderate amount of good fats and avoiding or limiting bad fats.
- Losing weight or maintaining a healthy weight.
- Being physically active.
- Not drinking too much alcohol.
If you’re concerned about your aging relative’s cholesterol levels, elder care can help. An elder care provider can prepare healthy meals that follow heart-healthy guidelines. Elder care providers can also help keep seniors more active, such as by going for walks with them or encouraging them to be physically active at home.
If you or an aging loved one are considering elder care in Ewing, NJ, please call the caring staff at Care Street Home Care. You can reach our Mercer/Burlington Division at (609) 496-5666.
Dr. Shelly, as he is fondly known, has served as an Alzheimer’s Support Group Facilitator in Mercer County and is a Certified Dementia Instructor. Knowledgeable, compassionate, and unusually devoted, his guidance is crucial in helping families understand their options and render decisions for their loved ones’ care plan. Dr. Shelly’s extensive experience, sincere and pleasant demeanor, and professional affiliations have made him a vital asset to Care Street.