Seniors Helping Seniors® elder care celebrates "National Cholesterol Education Month" in September.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has posted a great article about the month and about cholesterol in general. At Seniors Helping Seniors, as our name implies, our focus is on seniors. So, this article will overview cholesterol as related to elder care topics.
Stroke: since cholesterol builds up to block blood vessels, and since your brain requires so much blood flow through some very tiny blood vessels to remain healthy, high cholesterol is directly implicated in causing strokes, one of the leading causes of death in the US in elder care. But, if you've watched the news in the past 30 years you've probably already learned that one. Medicien.net has a laundry list of diseases associated with high cholesterol. You will notice that many are heart and vascular disorders. So, we shouldn't forget these more "obvious" ones, either.
Here are a few lesser know cholesterol related issues:
1. Bone Loss - Researchers at Duke University learned that high cholesterol levels directly cause a loss of bone density by blocking the formation of new bone cells and by increasing bodily mechanisms that break down bones.
2. Smoking - Smoking causes elevated cholesterol levels. Seems every time we hear about smoking it's in a negative context. Maybe it's time to kick that habit!
3. Dementias - There has been shown a definite correlation between elevated cholesterol levels and incidence of dementia. Like many things with dementia, the exact cause and effect relationships aren't yet fully understood, but the correlation is real.
4. Gallstones - Aging can bring an increased risk of cholesterol gallstone disease (along with family history). A study at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center of the Harvard Medical School found that there is a prevalence approaching 50% at age 80 for this disorder.
Of course, like almost all things in life, there are multiple opinions on the topic of cholesterol, and especially cholesterol reducing medications. Here is a link to one senior's personal views based upon his own research.
My suspicion is that there is some middle ground or perhaps further biological or medical detail that researchers will uncover over the years, that will help us better understand and manage cholesterol. In the meanwhile, being informed is one of the very best things you can do in order to consult with your doctor to make the best decisions for yourself or your loved one!
Good luck with your cholesterol! Be educated and be well!