Important Numbers You Need to Know to Keep Your Heart Healthy
“Numbers” refer to key markers to ensure a healthy heart. The most important numbers to know and monitor are blood pressure levels, cholesterol levels, body mass index (BMI), waist circumference and diabetes. When you monitor and keep a tab on these numbers, it keeps your heart healthy.
Due to demanding work schedules, lack of physical activity, high stress and poor eating habits, corporate employees are becoming more prone to heart diseases. According to a recent study, about 72% of corporate employees are prone to heart disease. Moreover, people working in night shifts have high levels of unhealthy habits like eating junk food, changes in sleep patterns, etc. It is essential to know these numbers and keep a track of them for keeping your heart healthy.
The basic and important numbers you should know are:
- Blood pressure levels: This number is critical to the heart’s health. Blood pressure means pressure of blood against artery walls. If the levels of your blood pressure are high, it means your heart is working too hard for moving blood and over time, this can damage blood vessels, heart and other organs.
People with high blood pressure are at a higher risk of having a heart attack or stroke. It is advised that you get your blood pressure checked every year. Optimal blood pressure is 120/80 millimetres of mercury. In addition to blood pressure check at doctor’s office, you can use a digital blood pressure monitor to check your blood pressure at home which is easy to use.
- Cholesterol levels: Cholesterol is the fat that circulates in the blood stream. The lower, the better it is for your heart. Your body needs some amount of cholesterol for performing essential functions like digestion, hormone production and cell maintenance. For detection of total cholesterol levels – LDL (low density lipo protein), which is considered as bad cholesterol and HDL (high density lipo protein), which is considered as good cholesterol, a fasting lipo protein test is carried out. This test is done after 9-12 hours of fasting. A healthy cholesterol level is less than 200 mg/dL and a healthy LDL should be below 100 mg/dL. But if the numbers are high, it can put you at a higher risk of heart disease.
- Body mass index (BMI): BMI is a good way to measure your body fat and to determine whether you are overweight or not. Higher measure means greater risk. It is calculated by measuring your weight against your height. BMI 25 or below is normal, but if it is above 25, you are putting strain on your heart with excessive fat.
- Diabetes screening: Glucose is essential to your health because it is an important source of energy. But too much glucose can lead to health problems. Diabetes is a medical condition where a person has high levels of glucose in his blood. For diagnosis of diabetes, a fasting plasma glucose is done. Normal blood sugar level is between 70 – 100 mg/dL. If your plasma glucose is above 100mg/dL, you may be at the risk of diabetes which is the major cause for heart problems like high blood pressure and blockage of arteries of heart and body.
- Abdominal fat (waist): According to research, fat around the abdomen is more dangerous than weight on thighs. Having too much fat around the abdomen raises blood pressure, cholesterol levels and diabetes. Increased blood pressure, cholesterol level and diabetes directly impacts heart’s health. Normal/healthy waist circumference is 40 inches or less for men and for women it is 35 inches or less.
Therefore, knowing your numbers and keeping a track of them is important to keep your heart healthy. Don’t wait till the doctor advises you to test these numbers. According to an expert of cardiology department, “You need to know if you are at risk before you can take action to lower your risk.” You can improve your heart health and reduce the risk of heart disease by simply keeping these numbers in a healthy range.