February is American Heart Month. It’s a time when we remind ourselves to take good care of our hearts throughout the whole year. You can show your heart how much you care by eating a healthy diet and staying on top of factors that can keep your heart strong.
Blood pressure numbers: Is your blood pressure at normal levels? One in three adults in the U.S. has high blood pressure. It’s important to know what your blood pressure is and if it falls in the normal range, which is below 120/80. If your numbers are at 120-129/less than 80, your blood pressure would be considered “elevated.” Hypertension – or high blood pressure – occurs at levels of 130-139/80-89.
Cholesterol numbers: Do you know your cholesterol levels? Your provider measures three different facets of your cholesterol – HDL (the “good” kind), LDL (the “bad” kind) and triglycerides (fat used to store excess energy from the foods you eat). Your goal should be healthy cholesterol levels of:
Total cholesterol: Less than 200
HDL (good): 50 + for women/40+ for men
LDL (bad): Less than 100
Triglycerides: Less than 150
Family heart health history: Some of the things you have in common with your family members – like genetics, environment and lifestyle factors – can play a role in your personal health. By having a working knowledge of your family’s medical history, you can help your provider identify where you may be at higher risk for certain conditions like heart disease and work to reduce your risks through lifestyle changes.
When you know your numbers and act early to check your heart health, you put yourself and your health care providers in a better position to catch any potential issues that may arise.
Do you know your heart health numbers? Call 1-800-424-DOCS to make an appointment with a provider and ensure that you’re on the road to good heart health!