WHAT IS HIGH CHOLESTEROL?
At Unimed Care Center, our primary care physicians care for many seniors with high cholesterol levels and help them treat this condition in order to improve it. But there are many things you can do yourself as a senior to lower your high cholesterol. First of all you should understand that high cholesterol is not something we can catch like a cold or the flu. In addition, high cholesterol doesn’t only come from the foods we eat, but rather it’s a medical condition that occurs based on our food choices and exercise habits. When cholesterol is not kept under adequate control, we are at risk for developing coronary artery disease. This happens when the cholesterol builds up in the blood vessels that supply blood to the heart.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN GOOD AND BAD CHOLESTEROL?
There are two different types of cholesterol, bad (LDL) and good (HDL). When LDL cholesterol builds up in the blood vessels, it can lead to CAD (coronary artery disease), heart attack and even death. HDL cholesterol actually helps to remove bad cholesterol from the walls of the blood vessels. An LDL of 100 or lower is optimal, whereas having an HDL level of 35 mg/dl for men and 45mg/dl for women is ideal. In general, women tend have higher levels of HDL than men, and this helps to reduce the overall risk of CAD in women.
Many factors come into play when our internal medicine physicians treat high cholesterol. Proper treatment depends upon certain criteria including total cholesterol levels, LDL and HDL levels, risk factors for coronary artery disease and lifestyle. For the sake of simplicity, people with high cholesterol can be divided into two categories; those with low risk for coronary events and those who are at a higher risk.
Maintaining a healthy, low-fat diet is vital in the treatment of high cholesterol. Primarily, this involves limiting the amount of fatty foods, especially foods high in saturated fat and cholesterol. Generally speaking, reducing the amount of red meat and high-fat dairy, fried foods and many baked goods such as cakes and cookies is key to lowering cholesterol levels.
In many cases, simple dietary changes can help reduce the levels of bad cholesterol. In cases where dietary changes are simply not enough, there are several medications on the market today that are highly effective in reducing total cholesterol levels. Taking into account the patient’s medical history and risk factors, as well as total cholesterol levels, the highly qualified primary care physicians at Unimed Care Center will tailor individual treatment plans to lower our senior patient’s overall cholesterol levels and help our patients on the right path towards a healthier lifestyle.