Do You Know Your Health Numbers?
Knowing – and tracking – these four numbers can improve your health.
Key markers of health like cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar and body mass index (BMI) can tell you and your doctor about your risk for many illnesses, including heart attack, stroke, kidney disease, and diabetes.
Here are the healthy numbers to strive for:
TOTAL CHOLESTEROL = 200 OR LESS
Cholesterol levels help indicate heart health.
It is recommended to start having your cholesterol checked every five years, beginning at age 20. If an elevated level is detected, it should be checked more frequently.
- HDL (good cholesterol) should be above 60
- LDL (bad cholesterol) should be below 130
BLOOD PRESSURE = LESS THAN 120 OVER 80
Blood pressure is another indicator of hearth health.
It is recommended to get your blood pressure checked at least once a year.
- Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a condition where resting blood pressure is consistently measured at 140 over 90 or greater.
BLOOD SUGAR = BELOW 100
Glucose is sugar that is stored in the blood as our main source of energy. It is recommended to get your blood sugar tested every 3 years, unless you have pre-diabetes, in which case it should be checked yearly.
- Hyperglycemia – when glucose levels are too high, you can develop diabetes.
- Hypoglycemia – when glucose levels are too low, you can develop diabetes.
BODY MASS INDEX (BMI) = BETWEEN 18.5 AND 24.9
BMI is regarded as the most useful tool to determine and classify obesity – it measures body fat. This information can be used to assess your risk for a number of conditions.
- BMI under 18.5 – classified as underweight
- BMI over 25 – classified as overweight
- BMI over 30 – classified as obese
HOW TO USE YOUR NUMBERS
Having these numbers on file helps your doctor better understand your health, monitor your progress and advise you on treatment and lifestyle changes. Knowing your levels can help you choose specific health goals (like lowering your cholesterol) and can be a motivating factor in making new healthier habits.
In addition, these numbers can help you earn Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA) funding. This summer, when you and your covered spouse are asked by the Trust to complete your annual PPO Personal Health Assessment (PHA) or Kaiser Health Profile, knowing your numbers will help you get better results, and direction on what wellness sponsored programs (like Health Coaching for PPO or Quit For Life®) might be good for you. And just for completing your PHA you can earn up to $300 toward your annual HRA and avoid a higher deductible in 2020.
Source: American Heart Association