Five numbers to remember to keep your heart healthy
Apart from pass codes, phone numbers, social security numbers, clothing sizes and addresses, heart experts at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center suggest that there are five more you need to know to help keep your cardiovascular system healthy.
"These are the numbers doctors use to assess someone's risk for getting heart disease, both short term and throughout their lifetime," Dr. Martha Gulati, director of preventive cardiology and women's cardiovascular health at Ohio State's Ross Heart Hospital, said.
"When you monitor these numbers, you are empowered to work with your doctor to improve your heart health," she said.
Gulati said that the most important numbers to know are blood pressure levels, Body Mass Index, waist circumference, cholesterol levels and blood sugar levels.
A normal blood pressure is under 120/80. Talk to your doctor if it is higher than that. Simple lifestyle changes can help you lower your blood pressure and potentially avoid medication.
Body Mass Index is the measurement of your weight for your body surface area and it's considered a reliable indicator of body fatness for most people.
A BMI less than 18.5 is underweight. Below 25 is normal. A BMI of 25 through 29.9 is overweight, and 30 or higher is considered obese.
Fat that is carried around the abdomen increases the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Measure your waist at the belly button, not where your clothing waistband sits.
Gulati said that women should be at least less than 35 inches and men should be less than 40 inches at the waist.
While the body makes all of the cholesterol it needs, it is also readily found in food. High cholesterol can lead to heart disease and atherosclerosis, or build-up of plaque in the arteries. Gulati says it's important to know your total cholesterol number and your low-density lipoprotein, or LDL, number.
A healthy cholesterol number is below 200. A healthy LDL number is below 100.
Blood sugar reading tells doctors how much glucose is in the blood. High levels of blood glucose cause diabetes, which increases the risk for cardiovascular disease. A healthy fasting blood sugar number is under 100 after not eating for eight hours.
(Posted on 09-02-2014)