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.
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
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
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
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.