6 Numbers You Need to Know to Avoid Heart Disease and Stroke

  • author name Lori Good, RN
Two doctors viewing a medical record

When it comes to your heart health, there are 6 important numbers you need to know to help prevent heart disease and stroke.

Many factors influence our health, but there are ways each of us can take control of our health and wellness. It starts with knowing your numbers; your health numbers, that is.

The earlier you know your health numbers, the better conditions like high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, overweight, obesity, heart disease, and stroke can be treated.

Quick Guide to the Numbers

Body Mass Index (BMI)

BMI provides a reliable indicator of body fat for most people and is used to screen for weight categories that may lead to health problems. Calculate your BMI.

Blood Pressure

Your blood pressure consists of two numbers—systolic pressure (top number), and diastolic pressure (bottom number). Each time you have your blood pressure taken, ask for your numbers. It is usually written as a ratio, such as 120/80.

  • Normal - Less than 120/80
  • Borderline High - 120-139/80-89
  • High Risk - 140 and above/90 and above

Total Cholesterol

A measure of LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and triglycerides in your blood.

  • Desirable - Less than 200
  • Borderline High - 200-239
  • High Risk - 240 and higher

LDL Cholesterol

Since cholesterol cannot dissolve in the blood; it has to be transported to and from the cells by lipoproteins. Low density lipoprotein or LDL is known as the “bad guy.” Too much in the blood stream builds up on the inner walls of the arteries.

  • Desirable - Less than 130
  • Borderline High - 130-160
  • High Risk - 160 and higher

HDL Cholesterol

High density lipoprotein or HDL is considered the “good guy” because high levels of this lipoprotein seem to protect against heart disease and are thought to carry cholesterol away from the arteries back to the liver where it is then passed from the body.

  • Desirable - Higher than 60
  • Acceptable - 40-60
  • High Risk - Less than 40

Blood Sugar (Glucose)

If the sugar or glucose level in your blood goes too high and remains high, over time, damage is done to the eyes, kidneys, nerves, and the blood vessels.

  • Normal - 70-100
  • Borderline High - 100-125
  • High Risk - 126 and higher

Take Charge of Your Health

If you don’t know your numbers, talk to your doctor who can also recommend ways you can get to and stay within the most desirable ranges, lowering your risk of heart disease and other health problems. Or maybe consider a class to help you succeed.

author name

Lori Good, RN

Lori Good, RN, is a registered nurse with Lancaster General Health Community Health and Wellness.

Education: Good holds an associate’s degree in nursing and a bachelor’s degree in communications/journalism from Shippensburg University. Her areas of expertise include healthy weight management for children, adults and families, heart health, and group and individual health coaching. She enjoys creating healthy, affordable recipes that are simple to make.

Call: 717-544-3283

About LG Health Hub

The LG Health Hub features breaking medical news and straightforward advice to help individuals of all ages make healthy choices and reach their wellness goals. The blog puts articles by trusted Lancaster General Health clinical experts, good 'n healthy recipes, videos, patient stories, and health risk assessments at your fingertips.


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