Wrapping Up National Cholesterol Education Month with an LDL-Lowering Checklist

Manage cholesterol with a healthy diet.

by Dianna Malkowski, Physician Assistant & Nutritionist

In recognition of National Cholesterol Education Month, we’re reminding readers why it’s important to have cholesterol checked and how healthy habits can reduce low-density lipoproteins (LDL).

We know too much cholesterol is a main risk for heart disease and stroke. Although we can’t do much to change some of the factors that affect cholesterol levels such as age and heredity, we can make lifestyle changes that can help lower “bad” cholesterol.

In addition to regular cholesterol screenings, here’s a checklist of ways to reduce LDL:

__ Eating a healthy diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol. Foods low in saturated fat include fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fat-free dairy products, fish, skinless poultry and lean meats. Seniors or caregivers who care concerned about not getting fresh, healthy meals should consider services like Mom’s Meals, a meal delivery service that can customize plans to meet special dietary needs.

__ Exercising regularly. Working up to a goal of regular moderate-intensity physical activity for at least 30 minutes on most days can help raise HDL and lower LDL. Because physical activity is recommended for everyone, seniors with limited mobility may benefit from the many daily living aids available today.

__ Maintaining a healthy weight. Losing weight can help lower LDL, especially for those with risk factors such as high triglyceride or low HDL levels or a large waist measurement. Those who need help losing weight should consult with a doctor or registered dietitian.

__ Avoiding cigarette smoking. In addition to causing many types of cancer, smoking causes coronary heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States, according to the CDC and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

__ Taking doctor-prescribed medication as directed in cases where lifestyle changes aren’t enough to lower LDL.

Heart disease and even certain medications can contribute to urinary incontinence because of excessive urine buildup and limited mobility. Patients who need help choosing incontinence products have many options available through The CareGiver Partnership, including the ability to talk to a Product Specialist who’s also a caregiver.

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Dianna Malkowski is a Board Certified Physician Assistant and Mayo clinic trained nutritionist specializing in diabetes, cancer, wound healing, therapeutic diets and nutrition support. She serves on the board of professional advisers for The CareGiver Partnership and enjoys working with patients and caregivers alike.


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