Know Your Numbers
When it comes to our cars there are routine maintenance checks we must do in order to keep them running in good condition. We need to do oil changes, keep the fluids topped off, change spark plugs, make sure we have gas and air in the tires, etc. We do all these little maintenance checks to help prevent mechanical programs from happening. This is just like our bodies! We need to do routine maintenance checks in order to prevent disease. There are key numbers that help to indicate if your body is running in good condition: Your cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar.
Blood Pressure target number: 120/80 or less
Blood pressure measures the amount of force it takes your heart to pump blood through your body. High blood pressure (or “hypertension”) increases your risk of heart attack, stroke, and kidney disease. High blood pressure damages your brain, eyes, and arteries, too. A normal blood pressure reading should be less than 120 over 80 mm Hg. You may have no symptoms of high blood pressure. Anyone can have high blood pressure. The only way to know you have high blood pressure is to have your blood pressure checked regularly. Check with your doctor to know your blood pressure numbers.
Cholesterol target number: 200 or less
A sudden heart attack may not be “sudden” at all but can be caused by years of living with high cholesterol and extra fats stored by the body. The normal range for total cholesterol is 200 or less. You also need to know your “healthy” HDL cholesterol and “bad” LDL cholesterol numbers. High total cholesterol, high LDL, or low HDL means you need to take immediate action to prevent a possible heart attack or stroke. There are no definite symptoms of high cholesterol. That’s why it’s important to see your doctor and know your cholesterol numbers. 200 or less!
Blood Sugar target number: 80 to 130
Glucose is sugar stored in the blood as your body’s main source of energy. If your glucose is too high, you may have diabetes. The average blood sugar range before meals for someone who has diabetes is between 80 and 130. Diabetes can strike anyone of any age, but it is more common in populations of ethnicity. Symptoms may involve frequent urination, extreme hunger, thirst, unusual weight loss, increased fatigue, or blurry vision. If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, you need to have your A1C number checked. Your A1C number tells you how well you’re controlling your blood sugar over time. In general, your A1C should be less than 7. It is important to follow your doctor’s recommendations. Left untreated, diabetes can lead to heart disease, blindness, amputation of arms or legs, and kidney disease. To take steps against diabetes early, see your doctor and know your numbers.
You can’t manage what you don’t measure, which is why knowing your risk is critical to preventing cardiovascular disease. And knowing your risk starts with knowing your numbers!