Cholesterol in Elders: Types, Causes & Remedies
Due to busy routines and unhealthy eating patterns, the body becomes vulnerable to many problems. It can lead to dangerously high cholesterol levels. Disturbances in cholesterol levels can cause many problems, such as various types of heart diseases and blood pressure, especially in senior citizens.
Although doctors prescribe multiple types of medicines to reduce cholesterol, the elderly can also prevent it with some necessary changes in their routine. There are some effective home remedies too that can ease it to some extent. In this article, we will make you understand numerous things about cholesterol in elders.
We will give information about the types, symptoms of increasing cholesterol, as well as some home remedies to reduce it. Towards the end, we will also address some frequently asked questions related to high cholesterol in elders.
What is Cholesterol?
The question that often comes to people’s minds is what exactly is cholesterol ? The fatty substance like wax, found in every cell of the body, is called cholesterol. It is also known as Hypercholesterolemia, Hyperlipidemia, and Hyperlipoproteinemia. Cholesterol helps produce hormones, vitamin D, and others, which makes it easier to digest food. But on the other hand, having high cholesterol levels in the blood increases the risk of diseases related to arteries, especially in the case of older adults.
Types of cholesterol
Check below for the various types of cholesterols in detail, even though mainly, cholesterols are of two major types!
● Low-density Lipoprotein
Commonly known as ” bad ” cholesterol, LDL transports cholesterol particles all over the body, forms in the arteries’ walls, narrows them, restricts the proper flow of blood, and can cause a heart attack.
● High-density Lipoprotein
It is commonly known as “ good ” cholesterol. It only picks up all the excess cholesterol and takes it back to the liver.
● Total Cholesterol
It tells the total amount of cholesterol present in the blood. It contains both low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol.
It is a type of fat found in the blood. According to some studies, high levels of triglycerides may increase the risk of heart disease in women.
● Very low-density lipoprotein
Very low-density lipoprotein, i.e., VLDL, is another type of bad cholesterol. Plaque forms on the arteries when VLDL is high.
It is extremely low-density cholesterol. It contains all other types of cholesterol except for HDL.
But if the elderly consume a regular, healthy diet and exercise, they can easily prevent high cholesterol and the consequent risk of heart attacks or any cardiac issue for that matter.
Causes of Cholesterol
● Lack of Physical Activity
Lack of physical activity, yoga and exercise in everyday lifestyle, also increases cholesterol. This type of lifestyle reduces HDL (good) cholesterol.
Smoking lowers HDL (good) cholesterol and increases LDL (harmful) cholesterol. This problem is seen mostly in women due to smoking.
● Genetic Causes
People also have high cholesterol problems due to genetics. Familial hypercholesterolemia is a type of congenital and inherited high cholesterol.
● Poor Diet
Diet plays a vital role in the overall health of older-adults. Eating unhealthy food always creates problems, especially during old age. The elderly need to stay away from saturated fat, trans fat, commonly found in animal products. They should also avoid consuming excess oil as it can increase their cholesterol. Keep elders away from fatty and oily food or food high in cholesterol like red meat and dairy products. Their diet must include plenty of green vegetables and fruits.
With each passing year, the body starts changing and getting weaker. Since elders’ immunity weakens, elders become vulnerable to various diseases; hence the liver becomes less functional, and it is challenging to remove LDL or bad cholesterol. Further, it can increase the high chances of blockage and heart attack.
What should be the ideal cholesterol level in Elders?
After learning so much about cholesterol, the question arises: how much cholesterol should there be, especially in elders? We shall discuss about the healthy levels of cholesterol based on age and gender. We are giving below the detailed chart for the same, so as to give you an idea regarding cholesterol levels in general, and also for Elders. Please be informed that cholesterol is measured in milligrams per deciliter (mg / dL), during cholesterol tests.
19 years and below
170 mg / less than dL
100 mg / less than dL
45 mg / more than dL
120 mg / less than dL
Men aged 20 and above
125 to 200 mg / less than dL
100 mg / less than dL
40 mg / less than dL
130 mg / less than dL
Women over 19 years of age
125 to 200 mg / less than dL
100 mg / less than dL
50 mg / less than dL
130 mg / less than dL
Natural Ways to Lower Cholesterol Level
Cholesterol has many vital functions for the human body; providing balancing of good and bad cholesterol is essential too. Different kinds of lipoproteins have different effects on health. Here are some natural ways to lower cholesterol levels and keep elders healthy and fit.
1. Monounsaturated Fats
Saturated fats are harmful to the body. However, monounsaturated fats are healthy, as they help to decrease harmful LDL cholesterol and reduce harmful oxidation. There are few great sources of monounsaturated fats such as olives and olive oil, canola oil, tree nuts, almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, walnuts, avocados. Cooking in olive oil has numerous benefits, and it is suitable for health as well.
2. Omega 3
Research shows that polyunsaturated fats reduce LDL, bad cholesterol, and lowers the risk of blockage or heart diseases. Omega-three fatty acids are commonly found in seafood or fish oil supplements.
3. Consider Plant sterols and stanols.
Various supplements promise to manage cholesterol. According to a study, plant stanols reduce LDL and bad cholesterol by 20%. However, we advise everyone to always consult the doctor before having it. Doctor will suggest the correct diet.
The elderly need to maintain a proper diet and exercise; it will help them lead a healthy life. Exercise helps to boost good cholesterol and ensure better health for the elderly. We understand how elders become lethargic sometimes and don’t want to move at all. But an exercise routine is crucial for the elderly.
5. Whole Grains
Whole grains have been considered a source of many nutrients such as fibre, vitamins, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, folate, iron, magnesium, and selenium. It is known to reduce many types of physical problems. Whole grains are effective in reducing the level of cholesterol and removing the issues caused by it. Fibre is found in adequate quantities in whole grains. This may help reduce the level of cholesterol present in the blood of elders.
Home Remedies for Cholesterol
The treatment of cholesterol is possible only with proper medical treatment, but with the help of home remedies, cholesterol can be reduced or controlled to some extent. Below, we have listed some effective home remedies to lower cholesterol.,
1. Coconut Oil
Consumption of virgin coconut oil can be beneficial in lowering cholesterol. It contains lauric acid. It can help in increasing good cholesterol, i.e., HDL. Therefore, coconut oil can help control cholesterol levels. It can be used in place of other oils while cooking. Check here to know about other benefits of coconut oil.
Consuming Amla can help in preventing many diseases as well as in controlling cholesterol. Amla has rich vitamin-C and antioxidant properties. Apart from this, amla juice also has hypolipidemic properties. According to research published in NCBI (National Center for Biotechnology Information), all these amla properties reduce bad cholesterol and total cholesterol. It may also help to increase good cholesterol (HDL). Its juice and powder can control cholesterol.
Onions are used to enhance the taste of food as well as to lower cholesterol. Onion is rich in antioxidant and hypolipidemic properties. These properties can help to reduce and control bad cholesterol by increasing the amount of good cholesterol. Red-coloured onions are more effective in reducing cholesterol. Dried onions also have hypolipidemic and antioxidant properties, which may help reduce cholesterol. One can also have raw onion as a salad as well as using it in cooked food.
4. Orange Juice
In Ayurveda, orange juice is used as a medicine to treat cholesterol. The vitamin C and folate present in oranges have rich antioxidant properties. Along with these, orange juice is also endowed with hypolipidemic properties. These properties and flavonoids compounds found in oranges can help reduce the amount of bad cholesterol present in the blood and increase good cholesterol. The elderly should include orange juice at breakfast. It can be a great option to avoid cholesterol.
5. Apple Vinegar
The use of apple vinegar is a beneficial way to reduce cholesterol among older adults. Apple vinegar contains acetic acid, which can help normalize increased cholesterol. It is believed that those who include it are at less risk of cardiac issues than those who do not have it. However, more research is needed to clarify whether apple vinegar can control cholesterol levels. The elderly can consume apple vinegar in water before meals. Besides, the elderly can add it to salads. Also, ensure to have it in small amounts.
6. Coriander Powder
Coriander powder can take care of health along with enhancing the taste of food. The hypolipidemic, anti-hypercholesterolemic, and antioxidant properties present help reduce harmful cholesterol in the blood. A study conducted on animals found that using coriander extracts may help lower cholesterol. It is used in cooking vegetables and other dishes to enhance flavor.
7. Fish Oil
Fish oil is used as a medicine. Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids found in fish oil increase good cholesterol by reducing harmful cholesterol. It can also help in treating cholesterol. Fish oil can be used in cooking. It is possible that some people may not like the taste of it or are allergic to it, or are vegetarians. If this is the case, elders can easily have it in capsule form. It is better to consult a doctor before using it.
While garlic is commonly used as a vegetable or sauce, garlic extracts have powerful antioxidant properties and cholesterol-lowering properties, which can be beneficial in increasing good cholesterol. These can be beneficial in reducing total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (harmful) cholesterol levels. It can be used in multiple ways, for making chutney or while preparing various foods.
9. Green Tea
Many people use green tea to treat cholesterol. It has antioxidant properties. These properties can help control blood cholesterol levels. Antioxidant (HDL) has been considered helpful in increasing good cholesterol levels. The elderly can have two cups of green tea through the day to avoid high cholesterol.
10. Lemon Juice
Nutrient-rich lemon juice also can lower cholesterol. A compound called flavonoid is found in citrus fruits like lemon. These flavonoids may help reduce cholesterol and triglyceride. If lemon juice is mixed with honey in water, it can help to reduce body weight. Weight loss can ease cholesterol to some extent. This is possible because lemon juice has vitamin-C and honey has antioxidant properties.
Essential Oil to Reduce Cholesterol
Many such oils are available in the market, which can comparatively reduce cholesterol levels. The proper intake of essential oils can control high cholesterol. Here are some of the essential oils that the elderly should use:
● Olive oil
Olive oil is known for both its flavor and nutritional value. The polyphenols present in it inhibit lipoprotein-related oxidative damage. This can lower harmful (LDL) cholesterol and triglyceride (a type of fat) levels and help the good (HDL) cholesterol in the body.
● Palm oil
Palm oil can also control high cholesterol. The tocotrienol compound found in it may help control cholesterol. These (HDL) can reduce harmful (LDL) cholesterol without any effect on good cholesterol.
● Spearmint oil
Here is another essential oil that’s highly effective for high cholesterol. According to the medical report published on the NCBI website, extracts prepared from Spearmint leaves contain phenolic compounds. When this compound was used on mice, it increased the antioxidant process in the body. This helped improve the immune system and reduce the harmful glucose and cholesterol present in the blood.
● Neem oil
Neem flower extracts (oil, powder, juice) have cholesterol-lowering effects. They inhibit the absorption of cholesterol in the intestines. Also, it helps in preventing cholesterol formation. Indeed, due to the hypo-cholesterolemic properties present in neem, it is believed to help prevent cholesterol from rising.
● Lemon oil
Elders can also use lemon oil to control cholesterol. Lemon oil contains limonene, antioxidant, and gamma turpentine (γ-terpinene) compounds. These properties may help increase HDL by lowering the level of LDL cholesterol present in the blood.
● Almond oil
The monounsaturated fatty acids found in it can reduce harmful cholesterol (LDL), total cholesterol, and plasma triglyceride in the body. Besides, this fatty acid containing oil may also be beneficial in increasing levels of good (HDL) cholesterol.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What are the symptoms of high cholesterol?
High cholesterol has no symptoms as such, only a blood test can detect if someone has it. However, the common symptoms of high cholesterol in the elderly include dizziness, loss of appetite, left chest pain, pain in the legs, tiredness, etc.
2. How dangerous can high cholesterol be for elders?
Cholesterol is essential for every person. But if there is an increase above its average level, it increases cardiac issues in the elderly. Thus it can be quite serious, especially regarding elders.
3. Can high cholesterol be reduced in elders?
Yes, high cholesterol can be reduced. For this, the elderly should reduce their intake of salt, exercise, adopt healthy lifestyle activities, and connect with their doctor immediately.
4. What kind of food causes high cholesterol in elders?
High cholesterol occurs in elders mainly due to eating meat, eating salt in excess amount, eating fast food, butter, or by any means of excess calorie consumption, etc.
5. Does high cholesterol cause weakness in elders?
No, high cholesterol does not directly cause weakness in elders, but it can cause other serious illnesses such as heart disease, lung disease, trouble breathing, etc. In some cases, it evokes tiredness and lethargy in them, which consequently causes weakness in elders.
In this blog on cholesterol, we have informed that this is not a disease in itself but a condition, that can lead to other severe diseases in elders. Though, cholesterol can be reduced by using the home remedies given in the article, in addition to doctor’s prescription, we would like to clarify that it is not right to rely solely on home remedies, essential oils, or any other thing suggested in the article to control the rising cholesterol levels. Medical Counseling is Primary for critical conditions.
People who are not able to give proper care to the elders or look after their diet can also opt for Professional Eldercare services in Delhi-NCR like us Emoha. At Emoha, we have a team of trained caregivers who work 24×7 to ensure a healthy lifestyle for elders. Hence, people looking for professional care services, should please connect with us at Emoha at 1800-123-445555 or firstname.lastname@example.org.