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Know Your Heart Healthy Numbers

By Griffin Hospital on 2/12/2016

The best way to prevent cardiovascular diseases is by managing your risk factors. Simple screening tests during regular doctor visits can tell you if you are at risk and monitor changes. Although it may seem daunting to think your results could put you in a high or moderate risk category, the good news is that most of these risk factors can be reduced when take control of your lifestyle and begin changing your health in a positive way. 

Here are the 5 numbers you’ll want to know to start your road to a healthy heart:

  • 200: That’s about the highest you want your cholesterol to be. If it comes back higher, add more fruits, vegetables and whole grains into your diet.

  • 130: You should have a fasting lipoprotein profile taken every four to six years, starting at age 20. This is a blood test that measures total cholesterol, LDL (bad) cholesterol, HDL (good) cholesterol and triglycerides. If your LDL is higher than 130, make fiber your focus. Vegetables, oats, beans and barley all help lower LDL cholesterol.

  • 120/80: One of the most important screenings you can have is for high blood pressure. It has no symptoms, yet greatly increases your risk of heart disease and stroke. If your blood pressure is below 120/80 mm Hg, be sure to get it checked at least once every two years, starting at age 20. If your blood pressure is higher, your doctor may want to check it more often. High blood pressure can be controlled through lifestyle changes or medication. 

  • 150: That’s how many minutes you should exercise each week (about 30 minutes a day, 5 times a week). Regular, brisk exercise – the kind that gets your heart pumping harder and causes you to sweat – strengthens your heart and reduces your blood pressure. It also helps with weight loss, which means your heart doesn’t have to work as hard.

  • 19-25: This is the range where your BMI (Body Mass Index) should be. About 2 of every 3 adults are overweight or obese. Being obese puts you at higher risk for health problems such as heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, and more. Talk to your doctor about what you can do to lower your BMI if you’re at risk for obesity.
cardiology
heart health
prevention and lifestyle management
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