Know Your Health Numbers
There are several numbers which help evaluate your health and give you information about your overall health status. To learn about the numbers and how to manage them, click the tabs for information on each topics below:
To learn more about your health numbers from American Heart Association, click here.
Managing your blood pressure is important for your health. When your blood pressure is high, your heart is required to work harder. High blood pressure increases your risk for heart attack, stroke, and kidney disease. The goal for your blood pressure is less than 120/80. If your blood pressure is between 130/80 and 140/90, it is important you work on life style changes to help lower your numbers. If your blood pressure is greater than 140/90, you may need medication to help control it. Lifestyle changes to improve blood pressure include: quitting smoking, regular exercise, and weight loss. The recommended amount of exercise is 150 minutes of mild – moderate activity per week, which equates to 30 minutes of walking 5 days per week.
To download a copy of the blood pressure table, click below:
To learn more about what high blood pressure is, click below:
To learn more about how to monitor your blood pressure, click below:
To learn about lifestyle changes to improve blood pressure, click below:
To learn more about blood pressure click here.
Cholesterol is a waxy substance found in the blood stream and is important to help your body build cells. Too much cholesterol can cause problems, increasing your risk for heart attack or stroke. Your cholesterol blood test includes several numbers.
This number reflects the total cholesterol value. Total cholesterol includes the HDL and LDL numbers. The goal for total cholesterol is less than 200.
High Density Lipoprotein (HDL)
HDL is also known as ‘good cholesterol’. HDL cholesterol helps transports fats back to the liver to be processed. Higher levels of HDL are ideal as this helps decrease the risk of vascular disease. The overall goal is 50 or greater. This number improves with regular exercise.
Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL)
LDL is also known as ‘bad cholesterol’. LDL transports fats and deposits them in the blood vessels. Lower levels of LDL are ideal. LDL levels are improved with regular exercise and healthy diet. The goal for LDL is based on your risk factors. Talk with your provider regarding your goals.
Triglycerides are another type of blood fat. The goal for triglycerides is less than 150. This level is easily improved with healthy diet (avoiding saturated fats) and regular exercise. To watch a video regarding cholesterol, click here. To watch a video regarding lifestyle changes for managing cholesterol click here. To download more information, click below:
Blood Sugar (Glucose)
The glucose lab test is often used to screen for diabetes. An estimated 30 million people have diabetes and approximately 23% have not been diagnosed (CDC, 2018).
Your blood sugar level may be elevated if you had anything to eat or drink before your lab. The goal for a fasting blood sugar 70-100, (fasting means nothing to eat or drink for 12 hours before your lab test). If your blood sugars are elevated your provider may do additional lab tests. Blood sugar levels improve by decreasing the sugars and carbohydrates in your diet, regular exercise, and weight loss.
To learn more about diabetes, click here.
Body Mass Index (BMI)
Body Mass Index is a calculation based on your height and weight. The normal BMI range is 18-24. A BMI of 30 or greater is defined as obesity. If your BMI is above 24, it is recommended to work on lifestyle changes to help with weight loss. This primarily involves lifestyle changes regarding diet and exercise.
To calculate your BMI, click here.
For more information about how to make healthy lifestyle changes, click on the following links:
- BMI-lifestyle changes
- How can I manage my weight
- How can I cook healthfully
- How do I follow a healthy diet?
Additional information can be found at:
- Choose My Plate
- How to Understand and Use Nutrition Labels – FDA
- Reading Food Labels – National Institute on Aging
Waist circumference, also known as waist size, is another number which helps tell you information about your health status. Increased waist circumference means increased fatty tissue in the abdominal wall. Large amounts of abdominal body fat place you at higher risk for health problems including diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure. Waist size is a better predictor for heart attack than BMI. A waist circumference of 40 inches or greater in men, or 35 inches or greater in women is considered elevated. The goal is less than 40 inches for men and less than 35 inches for women.
To measure your waist circumference, take a measuring tape and measure around your waist, over the largest part of your abdomen.