Heart health takes center stage across the United States in February, which is National Heart Health Awareness Month. We’re happy to be part of the national observance here at Ross Bridge Medical Center in Hoover, Alabama.
Of course, your heart health and how it relates to your overall well-being is a year-round concern here at Ross Bridge Medical Center. And much of our attention focuses on the numbers we see when you have lab work done, step on a scale, or sit for a blood pressure check.
We’ve put together a list of six numbers you should keep in mind throughout the year. What these numbers say may indicate what your risks are of developing heart disease and other conditions that may threaten your heart, such as diabetes.
1. Your LDL level matters
Low-density lipoproteins (LDL) — commonly referred to as bad cholesterol — can block your arteries and lead to heart disease. According to the newest guidelines published by the American College of Cardiology, healthy adults should aim for an LDL level of less than 100. Borderline LDL levels range from 130-159, and anything above that is considered high to very high. If you already have coronary artery disease, your LDL level should be below 70.
2. Check your waist circumference
Abdominal obesity is a primary indicator of a condition known as metabolic syndrome, which is a cluster of symptoms that may indicate you’re at higher risk for developing heart disease. Women whose waists measure more than 35 inches, and men with a waist circumference of 40 inches or more have an increased risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.
3. Your body mass index matters
Your body mass index (BMI) compares your body fat to your weight and height. High levels of body fat, indicated by a BMI of 25 and above, may increase your risk of developing metabolic syndrome. And metabolic syndrome may increase your risk of developing heart disease.
4. Triglycerides matter, too
Triglycerides are another type of fat found in your blood. Your body converts the calories you eat but don’t need into triglycerides, which are eventually stored in fat cells for later use. Triglyceride levels above 200 milligrams per deciliter is considered high and may increase your risk for developing heart disease, diabetes, and other serious medical conditions.
5. Know your blood pressure
We check your blood pressure every time you come in for a visit at Ross Bridge Medical Center, because it’s an important measurement of your overall health. Readings of 130/80 mm Hg or higher may indicate you’re at risk for heart disease, vision loss, peripheral artery disease, kidney disease, stroke, and other serious medical conditions.
6. Monitor your blood sugar
Blood sugar levels that are 100 milligrams per deciliter or higher during fasting may show insulin resistance, which is another indicator of metabolic syndrome. It may also indicate you’re developing Type 2 diabetes or prediabetes. All of these conditions can harm your heart. Diabetes is especially troublesome, because it rarely produces symptoms in its early stages other than elevated blood sugar levels. An abnormal blood sugar level may be your first warning sign of diabetes.
Take stock of your heart health by scheduling a wellness visit at Ross Bridge Medical Center today. We’ll check your numbers, evaluate your history, and design a care strategy that can keep you healthy throughout the year. Call the office or book an appointment online today.