It's amazing that we can retain so many numbers in our lifetime. We can rattle off phone numbers, birth dates, anniversaries, but do you know your most important numbers? Your Health Numbers are the most important numbers in your life. It can save your life, be a warning, and even be a positive thing in your life. So you are wondering what these numbers are and what do they mean for you? Let me share how these three little numbers can be a huge impact on your life.
When measuring your heart health numbers, don't just look at where you are -- look at where you're going.
Trend lines are important. If your blood pressure is below the cutoff point for high blood pressure, that's good, but if it's been going up, it's still a concern.On the other hand, if your cholesterol is high, but on the way down, pat yourself on the back (and keep working out).
1. Blood Pressure: Key to Heart Health
Your doctor tells you your blood pressure numbers, or you hear the doctors on ER shout "pressure's dropping!" Do you actually know what that means?
Blood pressure consists of two numbers. Your systolic pressure measures the pressure of blood against artery walls when the heart pumps blood out during a heartbeat, while the diastolic pressure measures the same pressure between heartbeats, when the heart fills with blood. Both of these numbers are important.. Just because one is normal doesn't mean you're off the hook.
- Normal blood pressure is below 120/80.
- Pre-hypertension is 120 to 139 (systolic) and/or 80 to 89 (diastolic).
- Hypertension – also known as high blood pressure -- is 140 or higher (systolic) and 90 or higher (diastolic).
One in three adults in the U.S. -- about 74 million people -- has high blood pressure or pre-hypertension. Between 1996 and 2006, the number of deaths from high blood pressure rose by more than 48%.
2. Cholesterol: Predictor of Heart Attack
Cholesterol isn't all bad -- it's a type of fat that's actually a nutrient. But as you've probably heard, there's "good" cholesterol and "bad" cholesterol. When we measure cholesterol and blood fats, we're really talking about three different numbers: HDL, LDL, and triglycerides. They combine to give you a "lipid profile" score, but the three individual scores are most important.
Here are the numbers to strive for:
- Total cholesterol of 200 mg/dL or lower.
- HDL ("good" cholesterol) of 50 mg/dL or higher, if you're a woman, or 40 mg/dL or higher, if you're a man.
- Optimal LDL is 100 or lower, says Mosca. If you have other major risk factors, like pre-existing cardiovascular disease or diabetes, your doctor may want your LDL closer to 70.
- Triglycerides of less than 150 mg/dL.
LDL is the number most doctors and heart health programs focus on in particular, says Mosca. Every single point of LDL decrease makes a difference. If your LDL is at 140 and you get it down to 130, that's great, even if you haven't reached optimum levels yet.
**Adults 20 and older should get a lipid profile every five years**
3. Waist Size: The Connection to Heart Disease
If you can only remember one number, your waist size is the one to know. Why? Because better than your weight or your BMI, your waist size predicts your heart disease risk. If your waist size is equal to or more than 35 inches in women and equal to or more than 40 inches in men, it increases your risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, metabolic problems, high blood pressure and abnormal cholesterol.
It's easy to measure yourself. Just get a non-elastic tape and measure around your belly button.
If you lose even 1 inch off their waist, we see improvements in all the other heart health numbers. Conversely, if they gain even 1 inch, we see worsening in those numbers. It's a much better indicator than weight, because you can be gaining weight and still losing waist size if you're working out and gaining lean muscle mass
My husband and I go to Publix often, because they have a machine in the pharmacy that allows you to actually create a account on it. It keeps track of your blood pressure, weight, and loads of other things. That way if you are a busy mom like I am you can easily keep track of your health in five minutes. You can view your history and keep an eye out for problems.
Hubby Getting His Numbers!