Irving Primary Care

How to Maintain Your Cholesterol Levels After 50

Our liver creates an important wax-like substance known as cholesterol. Our bodies need this substance to build the structure of cell membranes and make hormones like testosterone and estrogen. You can also find this substance in several foods that you eat, such as meat, chicken, fish, eggs, and high-fat dairy products.

However, a high cholesterol level can increase the risk of heart diseases like heart attack and stroke at any age. These risks increase with age. Hence, adults need to take extra care to reduce their cholesterol buildup.

Healthy cholesterol levels for seniors are below 200 mg/dl (total cholesterol), including an HDL (good) cholesterol level of more than 40 mg/dl for men, 50mg/dl for women, and an LDL (bad) cholesterol level of less than 100 mg/dl.

As soon as you turn 50, get your levels checked by a doctor. If they do not lie in the above mentioned ranges, here’s how to maintain your cholesterol levels:

1. Quit Smoking

If you smoke, make it your life’s mission to quit as soon as you turn 50. When you stop smoking, your HDL cholesterol levels improve. Within half an hour of quitting, your heart rate and blood pressure levels stabilize after the spike induced by cigarettes. Within three to four months of quitting, your lungs will also begin to function better, and your blood circulation will improve. Within twelve months of quitting, the risk of you getting heart diseases will be half of that of a smoker!

2. Eat Heart-Healthy Foods

To reduce cholesterol levels and improve your heart health, you must make some dietary changes:

  • Reduce your consumption of saturated fats. These fats are mostly found in full-fat dairy products and red meat. They raise your total cholesterol and increase your LDL cholesterol levels.
  • Eliminate trans fats from your diet. These fats, also listed as partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, are often found in margarine and store-bought baked goods such as cakes, cookies, and crackers. They raise your overall cholesterol levels substantially.
  • Eat foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids. These foods do not affect LDL cholesterol. They have several benefits and can also reduce blood pressure. Salmon, herring, mackerel, flaxseeds, and walnuts are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids.

3. Exercise Regularly

When wondering about how to maintain cholesterol levels, consider spending time doing activities that make you healthy. Moderate physical activity can help raise the HDL cholesterol levels in your body. If your doctor allows, spend at least 30 minutes from your day to exercise five times a week. If you like vigorous physical activities such as aerobics, exercising 20 minutes three times a week is ideal.

Here are some physical activities you can do after you turn 50:

  • Take a brisk daily walk during your lunch hour.
  • Ride a bike to work.
  • Play your favorite sport at least once a week.
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator.

4. Lose Weight

Your cholesterol levels can shoot up, even if you gain just a few extra pounds. Refined sugars, unhealthy carbs, and sugary drinks can easily make you gain weight. Cut down on sugary drinks and switch to tap water. Keep track of the number of calories you can consume each day safely. If you crave something sweet, try low-fat candies or desserts. Incorporate different physical activities can also help you lose weight and keep your cholesterol levels in check.

Contact Health One Family Medicine for a Lipid Profile Test Today

A lipid profile test is one of the most common ways to measure cholesterol levels. Visit Health One Family Medicine today and get yourself tested. You can speak with our trained providers who can help you devise a strategy to maintain your cholesterol levels after 50. Remember, prevention is better than cure so take care of your heart from an earlier age.

To make an appointment with a physician at Health One Family Medicine, visit https://www.healthonemedicine.com/ or call (469)262-5762.

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