We have SO MANY numbers to keep in mind: our online banking password, our children’s birthdays, and our Social Security number, among others. The numbers you may not be so familiar with are the ones your doctor may talk about during your physical, checkup, or when reviewing blood test results: your blood pressure, cholesterol, body weight, and blood sugar.
If you want to live your best life, remember these four vital health indicators.
Your risk for heart attack and stroke, as well as kidney disease and heart failure, is elevated by high blood pressure. You may have high blood pressure and never know or sense it so getting your blood pressure checked regularly is vital. If your blood pressure is high (140/90 or higher), your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes or medication to bring it down to a normal level.
Healthy numbers: 120/80 mm Hg or less
High LDL (bad cholesterol) and low HDL (good cholesterol) can increase your risk for heart disease, heart attack and stroke, due to the forming of fatty plaques in your arteries. Your doctor will discuss ways for you to get your cholesterol under control. These suggestions may include medications, exercise, and a healthy diet. Your doctor will also provide suggestions as to how often you should have your cholesterol rechecked.
Total cholesterol—Less than 200 mg/dL
HDL cholesterol—Greater than 50 mg/dL
LDL cholesterol—Less than 130 mg/dL (less than 100 mg/dL for those at high risk for heart disease)
There are several variables that influence your body weight. The ideal body weight of a person varies by gender, age, height, and body composition. Be transparent and check with your doctor about your body weight. Two common measures of how healthy your weight is are your body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference. Although BMI is not a straightforward indicator of excess body fat, it reflects the relationship between weight and height and offers a calculation that is more informative than body weight alone.
A body mass index (BMI) of 18.6-24.9
Waistline smaller than 35 inches for women and 40 inches for men
How well your diabetes is controlled is demonstrated by your blood sugar levels. Managing your diabetes means you are less likely to have major health complications. You will see what may cause your blood sugar to go up or down as you track your blood sugar levels. This data helps you to consider what is working for you and what needs to improve.
Prediabetes: HbA1c (glycosylated hemoglobin) less than 6%
Diabetes: HbA1c (glycosylated hemoglobin) less than 7%