The Road to a Healthy Heart Starts With Knowing Your Numbers

120/80, 180, 150, 25, 130 … pay special attention to these numbers – they represent just a few that you should know in order to take control of your heart health.

120/80. These are the ideal numbers your blood pressure should be at or below in order to be healthy. Your blood pressure is in short, the force of blood that pushes against the walls of the body’s arteries. When blood pressure is high, the heart is forced to work harder. When the heart is forced to work harder, it can grow weaker. A strong heart = a healthier heart.

180 mg/DL or below is ideal for total cholesterol. The body uses cholesterol to help us digest food and make hormones. When there is too much of it, we are at greater risk of heart disease. On the contrast, low cholesterol is not good for us either as it can have a significant impact on the brain leading to depression and an increased risk of cancer. In addition, knowing your total cholesterol number can help your risk of heart disease.

150. You want your triglyceride number to be at 150 mg/dL or below. Less commonly heard of, triglycerides are a type of fat found in our blood. Just like the American Heart Association suggests, you want your triglyceride number to stay under that 150 mg. That 150 or below could, like cholesterol, reduce your risk of heart disease.

25. To find out your Body Mass Index (BMI), calculate it on a BMI Calculator such as the one on the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute’s website. BMI helps us understand which weight category we are in and whether or not it’s healthy so we can make better lifestyle decisions. 25 and over is considered overweight in adults.

130. Blood sugar levels go up and down throughout the day. If you are lacking liquids, levels can rise (blame dehydration), you can also blame not getting a good night’s rest for a spike. Skipping meals can make levels drop.

For help determining what your heart numbers are and for support in getting them at ideal levels, contact Waisbren Medicine at 609-465-1593. Waisbren Medicine is home to Dr. Burton Waisbren, a Fellow of the American College of Cardiology, who has more than 25 years experience in cardiovascular diseases. Waisbren Medicine is located in Cape May Court House.