What You Need to Know?
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S., more than all cancers combined. Yet, it's largely preventable with right lifestyle choices and knowing your numbers (Blood Pressure, Cholesterol and Body Mass Index). It's easy, it's quick and it can save your life.
Knowing your blood pressure and understanding its impact on your heart is critical. Life-threatening complications can develop over a course of years when hypertension exists.
How is blood pressure measured? It reports two readings the Systolic and Diastolic. The higher (systolic) number represents the pressure while the heart is beating. The lower (diastolic) number represents the pressure when the heart is resting between beats. The systolic pressure is always stated first and the diastolic pressure second.
||Less than 120
||Less than 80
||Re-check in 1 year
||Report to your MD within 2 months
|Stage I Hypertension
||Report to your MD within 1 month
|Stage II Hypertension
||At or greater than 160
||At or greater than 100
||Report results to MD immediately
It is recommended to check your cholesterol levels at least once every five years by everyone over the age of 20. If you are a male 35 and older or a women age 45 and older, you should be routinely screened for lipid disorders. The screening test that is usually performed is a blood test called a lipoprotein profile. The lipoprotein profile includes:
LDL Cholesterol can build up on the walls of your arteries and increase your chances of getting heart disease. That is why LDL cholesterol is referred to as "bad" cholesterol. The lower your LDL cholesterol number, the better it is for your health. The table below explains what the numbers mean:
|Less than 100
|100 - 129
||Near optimal/above optimal
|130 - 159
|190 and above
If you have heart disease or blood vessel disease, some experts recommend that you should try to get your LDL cholesterol below 70.
For people with diabetes or other multiple risk factors for heart disease, the treatment goal is to reach an LDL of less than 100HDL Cholesterol.
When it comes to HDL cholesterol - "good" cholesterol - the higher the number, the better it is for your health. This is because HDL cholesterol protects against heart disease by taking the "bad" cholesterol out of your blood and keeping it from building up in your arteries.
Triglycerides are the chemical form in which most fat exists in food and the body. A high triglyceride level has been linked to the occurrence of coronary artery disease in some people. Here's the breakdown:
|Less than 150
|150 - 199
|200 - 499
|500 or higher
Your total blood cholesterol is a measure of LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and other lipid components. Doctors recommend total cholesterol levels below 200.
|Less than 200
|200 - 239
|240 and above
Body Mass Index
Body Mass Index (BMI) is a number calculated from a person's weight and height. BMI is a fairly reliable indicator of body fatness for most people. BMI can be considered an alternative for direct measures of body fat. When the percentage of fat is too high, this can put a person at a higher risk for such health problems as high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol and diabetes.
- Underweight = <18.5
- Normal Weight = 18.5-24.9
- Overweight = 25-29.9
- Obesity = 30 or greater
Body Fat Percentage
The percentage of total body weight that is fat. Fat functions as insulation, protection and energy reserve. When the percentage is too high, fat increases a person's risk of high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease and some forms of cancer.
||++ (Very High)
Skeletal Muscle Mass Percentage
Muscles attached to bones, used to move the body. Why is this important to know? Increasing skeletal muscle mass through exercise and other activity helps maintain a higher resting metabolism and prevents weight gain.