HDLs, LDLs, hyperlipidemia and hypercholesterolemia: what do they all mean, and are they putting you at risk for a heart attack?
While the terms may be confusing, it’s important to understand the basics of cholesterol and its impact on our heart health – and more importantly, what proactive steps you can take to ensure your cholesterol levels, or those of a loved one, are within a healthy range before a heart emergency occurs.
The companion care services professionals at Absolute Companion Care offer the following simple definitions to help you better understand cholesterol do’s and don’ts:
LDL: LDL, or bad cholesterol, causes fatty deposits to build up in the arteries, increasing risk of a blockage.
HDL: HDL is the term for the good cholesterol that needs to be maintained in adequate quantities to remove LDL cholesterol and protect the arteries.
Hyperlipidemia: Hyperlipidemia is a condition in which levels of lipids (fats) in the blood are too high.
Hypercholesterolemia: Hypercholesterolemia is a particular type of hyperlipidemia, indicating elevated levels of LDL in the blood.
A simple blood test to check cholesterol levels is recommended for all adults age 20 and older, and if high cholesterol is detected, making the following lifestyle changes will likely be recommended by the doctor to protect your heart:
- Stop (or never start) smoking. And to take it a step further, avoid other smokers as well to protect against the dangers of secondhand smoke. Not only does tobacco smoke lower HDL levels, but it drastically increases the chance for coronary heart disease.
- Maintain a healthy weight. LDL levels are higher in those who are overweight or obese. A weight loss of even ten pounds can go a long way towards reducing bad cholesterol.
- Get moving. Moderately intensive physical activity (such as walking briskly, dancing, bicycling, or swimming) for at least 150 minutes per week is recommended to ensure adequate levels of HDL in the blood.
- Eat for your heart. The American Heart Association advises a diet high in whole grains, fruits and vegetables, fish, poultry, and nuts, and low in red meat, whole milk dairy products, and saturated fat.
Making lifestyle changes and creating healthier habits is easier with support and encouragement. Absolute Companion Care, a professional provider of home care in Lutherville and throughout the surrounding communities, is always available to partner with elders and their loved ones to improve heart health in a variety of ways:
- Planning and preparing heart-healthy meals for seniors
- Engaging elders in physician-approved exercise programs
- Providing safe, reliable transportation for elders to outings to enhance activity levels
- Grocery shopping to ensure the fridge and pantry are stocked with healthy choices
- Serving as a friendly companion to motivate elders to live their best possible lives
- And more
Contact us any time at 410-357-9640 for more tips and resources to help improve heart health, and to request a free in-home consultation to take the first step in making life healthier for your elder loved ones. We’re pleased to provide the highest quality home care in Lutherville and the surrounding areas.