Q: Why should cholesterol be managed in older adults?
A: High cholesterol levels that go untreated or unmanaged increase one's risk for coronary heart disease (CHD), which is the leading cause of death in both men and women over 65 years old and can cause long-term disability. Cholesterol treatment in high-risk individuals who are 65–80 years old is beneficial and reduces the likelihood of a heart attack or other coronary heart disease event.
Q: How do you know if you are "high-risk" for coronary heart disease?
A: You are considered high-risk if you have known CHD: you have had a heart attack, angioplasty, bypass operation, abnormal stress test, other diagnosis of atherosclerosis or you have diabetes mellitus.
Q: Am I still at high-risk if I have not had a heart attack?
A: You still are at high-risk, if your cholesterol level is high and you have one other major risk factor, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity or smoking.
Q: What must I do to lower my cholesterol?
A: To lower your cholesterol, live a heart-healthy lifestyle. Eat a heart-healthy diet that includes fresh vegetables, fruit, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, and limit fatty foods. Exercise regularly, avoid smoking, control high blood pressure, manage your diabetes and maintain a healthy weight. Your doctor also may recommend cholesterol-lowering drugs.
Q: What is the healthy range for cholesterol?
A: A healthy range for total cholesterol is less than 170 mg/dL and an LDL cholesterol of less than 100, or less than 70 mg/dL if you are in the high-risk category.