Exercise and Wellness Health Care

4 Numbers to Know for Your Heart Health

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Your heart is the engine that helps your body function and allows you to enjoy all life has to offer — from favorite activities to relationships with friends and family members. This February, be sure to celebrate your miraculous heart for National Heart Month.

Heart disease impacts about 84 million Americans and is the number one cause of death for men and women every year. Take control of your heart health by learning about four key numbers to know — and what you can do to keep them where they need to be.

1. Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is a leading cause of heart failure and stroke. Also called hypertension, high blood pressure can cause blockages in the arteries — reducing the flow of oxygen to the heart — making it work harder.

Here are the most recent guidelines from the American Heart Association for blood pressure and treatment:

  • Normal: Under 120/80
  • Elevated: 120-129/80
  • Stage 1 Hypertension: 130-139/80-89
  • Stage 2 Hypertension: Higher than 140/90

Your doctor will help you understand what these targets mean for you, and if any treatment is necessary. Treatment may include a heart-healthy diet, more physical activity or medication to help control your blood pressure.

2. Cholesterol

Cholesterol is a naturally occurring substance in the body. Produced in the liver and other cells, it can also come from eating foods that are high in fat. High levels of cholesterol can cause artery blockages, potentially leading to a heart attack.

A desirable total cholesterol level is less than 200 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL). An annual blood test can monitor your cholesterol levels and help your doctor make recommendations tailored to your health.

3. Blood Sugar

High blood sugar levels may indicate that you have diabetes or pre-diabetes, two conditions that can greatly increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. The American Heart Association considers diabetes to be one of the major controllable risk factors for heart disease.

A normal blood sugar level after fasting is 100 mg/dL.

4. Body Mass Index (BMI)

Being overweight or obese is a major risk factor in many life-threatening diseases, including diabetes, cancer, high cholesterol, metabolic syndrome and heart disease. Your BMI is a calculation based on your height and weight and can indicate whether you are overweight or obese.

People are considered overweight starting at a BMI of 25 and obese at 30 or higher.

15 Minutes

Fifteen minutes is all it takes to save a life. That’s how long it takes to get a simple health screening that gives you the information you need to live a heart healthy life. Talk to your AdventHealth Well 65+ provider about what preventive measures or screenings are right for you.

Your doctor can also assess your heart health at your annual physical, an important part of managing your whole health. It’s just one of many reasons you should visit your AdventHealth Well 65+ practice in times of both sickness and health.

Read more informative articles about how to live your best life in our blog.

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