You may be aware that having high cholesterol raises the risk of stroke and heart disease. Because it is a risk factor for serious health problems, it’s important that older adults have their cholesterol levels checked and take steps to improve them. What you may not know is that how the thyroid functions may affect your aging relative’s cholesterol levels.
Thyroid Hormones and Cholesterol Levels
The thyroid is a gland that is found in the neck. It produces hormones that help to regulate several functions in the body, including:
- Body temperature.
- The function of several organs, such as the heart and brain.
Hormones produced by the thyroid also play a role in the liver’s ability to remove cholesterol from the body. When a person has hypothyroidism, a thyroid that doesn’t produce enough hormones, the liver doesn’t get enough of the hormone it needs to break down excess cholesterol.
Research has shown that around 13 percent of people who have high cholesterol also have hypothyroidism. When the thyroid problem is treated, cholesterol levels also improve.
Ways to Manage Cholesterol
If your aging relative has high cholesterol, it may be a good idea to ask the doctor to check their thyroid function. In addition to treating thyroid problems, there are many other things you can do to help them manage their cholesterol levels, such as:
- Choose the Right Fats: Your older family member should limit the amount of saturated fat in their diet and try to eliminate trans fats. Saturated fats should be no more than 7 percent of the calories eaten in a day. Instead, include healthy fats like those found in olive and canola oils.
- More Fiber: Soluble fiber helps to remove LDL (bad) cholesterol from the body. Soluble fiber is found in foods like oats, fruits, beans, and lentils.
- Lose Weight: Losing as little as 10 pounds can help your aging relative to lower their cholesterol by 8 percent.
- Exercise: Experts recommend getting at least 30 minutes of exercise on 5 days of the week. Walking, swimming, yoga, and tai chi are all good forms of exercise for older adults.
- Reduce Stress: Stress can cause cholesterol levels to rise, so reducing the stress in your aging relative’s life could also help them reduce their cholesterol levels.
Senior care can help older adults to manage high cholesterol. Senior care providers can remind them to take their cholesterol medications. They can also prepare healthy meals that are low in saturated fats and contain more fiber. Having a senior care provider to cook balanced meals may help your loved one to lose some weight, too. Senior care is also an excellent way to reduce stress in the life of an older adult. Knowing that a caring individual will be stopping by to check on them and help with things around the house can eliminate the stress caused by worrying about the ability to take care of themselves.
When you are in need of care for a senior loved one, consider senior care provided by Golden Heart Senior Care. We have offices nationwide. For more information, call us today at (800) 601-2792.