The CDC reports that around 94 million adults have high cholesterol. About 28 million have very high cholesterol levels. Your dad’s doctor ran a blood test and found your dad’s cholesterol levels are very high, and the doctor recommends he starts making lifestyle changes.
What does this mean? How do you help your dad lower his cholesterol levels?
Why Cholesterol Levels Are Important
The liver produces cholesterol to help digest high-fat foods and to aid hormone production. In addition to the body producing cholesterol, some foods you eat contain additional cholesterol.
High-density lipoproteins (HDL) are known as good cholesterol. Your liver can filter it out and send it out of the body. Foods that increase HDL include whole grains, avocado, olive oil, beans, and fatty fish like salmon.
Low-density lipoprotein (LDL is bad cholesterol. It’s found in red meats, eggs, dairy items, and many processed baked goods containing palm oil. Extra LDL cholesterol ends up in the bloodstream, where it forms plaque and sticks to artery walls. Plaque restricts blood flow and increases the risk of a heart attack or stroke.
Help Your Dad Make These Changes
Your dad should start by exercising more. Have him ask his doctor if he should limit any specific activities. Once he knows what he can and cannot do, he should start working out at least 30 minutes a day. Ideally, he wants to balance his weekly exercise routines to contain some aerobic activities, brisk walks, strength training, and stress-busting programs like Tai Chi. Companion care at home can help your senior stick to an approved exercise regimen and ensure they do so safely.
His diet needs to change. See how he feels about switching some of his meals for vegetarian meals. Two or three vegetarian meals a week will help. He wants to make sure he’s eating plenty of vegetables every day. Whole grains and dried legumes are great choices. Companion care at home providers can prepare meals and help with grocery shopping for go-to quick snacks that are healthy and nutritious.
Instead of having his rolls with butter, keep a small jar of extra virgin olive oil and crushed garlic available for your dad to dip his roll in as he eats it. He needs to limit red meat and avoid fried foods. Instead, broil items like fish or poultry breast.
If he’s overweight, losing weight can help lower his cholesterol levels. Have him start by limiting all sugar. If he’s used to having coffee with a spoon of sugar, he needs to stop doing that. If he loves half and half in his coffee, he should switch to plant-based creamers.
Have you looked into the benefits of having companion care at home aides available? Your dad gains a professional caregiver to keep him company on walks. His caregiver can help him choose groceries at the store. Meal preparation for low-fat snacks and dinners is another available service.
He also has a home care aide to schedule appointments, make sure he gets to the doctor’s office on time, and remind him when to take his cholesterol medications. Call a companion care at home expert to learn more.