Heart Health

Heart Health

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.

Blood Pressure

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.

Systolic Diastolic Follow Up
Normal Less than 120 Less than 80 Re-check in 1 year
Pre-Hypertension 120-139 80-89 Report to your MD within 2 months
Stage I Hypertension 140-159 90-99 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

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:

LDL Cholesterol LDL-Cholesterol Category
Less than 100 Optimal
100 - 129 Near optimal/above optimal
130 - 159 Borderline high
160-189 High
190 and above Very high

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.

HDL 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:

Triglycerides Triglyceride Category
Less than 150 Normal
150 - 199 Borderline High
200 - 499 High
500 or higher Very high

Total Cholesterol

Your total blood cholesterol is a measure of LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and other lipid components. Doctors recommend total cholesterol levels below 200.

Total Cholesterol Category
Less than 200 Desirable
200 - 239 Borderline High
240 and above High

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.

Gender Age - (Low) 0 (Normal) + (High) ++ (Very High)
Female 20-39 <21.0 21.0-32.9 33.0-38.9 >39.0
Female 40-59 <23.0 23.0-33.9 34.0-39.9 >40.0
Female 60-79 <24.0 24.0-35.9 36.0-41.9 >42.0
Male 20-39 <8.0 8.0-19.9 20.0-24.9 >25.0
Male 40-59 <11.0 11.0-21.9 22.0-27.9 >28.0
Male 60-79 <13.0 13.0-24.9 25.0-29.9 >30.0

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.

Preventing Heart Disease

Gina thought her symptoms were caused by stress, but thankfully, she went to her doctor. Without treatment, she risked suffering a major heart attack. Now Gina is exercising, eating right, and getting back on the path to health.