Yakima Heart Center

Know your numbers

October 05, 2012

The best way to ensure your heart is in good health is to get regular check-ups from your health care provider.  Your doctor will check a number of factors that lead to heart disease. It’s important to know and understand those numbers, so that you can manage your heart health on your own.

  • Blood pressure
  • Pulse or Heart Rate
  • Waist circumference
  • Weight
and Body Mass Index (BMI)
  • Cholesterol
  • Blood sugar/Glucose Levels

BLOOD PRESSURE

Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against blood vessel walls during a heartbeat. A blood pressure reading consists of two numbers. The top number (systolic) represents the pressure in your blood vessels during a heartbeat. The bottom number (diastolic) is the pressure in your blood vessels as your heart rests between beats.

High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart attack, stroke, kidney failure and heart failure.

Blood Pressure Level

Category

Less than 120/80

Normal

120-139/80-89

Pre-hypertenion

140-159/90-99

Stage 1 Hypertension

160 and above/100 and above

Stage 2 Hypertension

 

PULSE OR HEART RATE

Measuring pulse or heart rate does not indicate high or low blood pressure. It simply tells you how hard your heart is working.  The greater your fitness level, the lower your resting pulse or heart rate will be. Normal resting pulse or heart rate for an adult is 60-100 beats per minute. The resting pulse or heart rate for an adult Athlete is 40-60 beats per minute.

WAIST CIRCUMFERENCE

Your waist circumference is determined by placing a measuring tape around your waist approximately one inch above your belly button. This measurement is a good indicator of your abdominal fat—another predictor of your risk for developing heart disease.

This risk increases with a waist measurement of over 40 inches in men and over 35 inches in women.

Talk to your doctor to see if you are at an increased risk and if you should lose weight.

People who are overweight or obese have a greater chance of developing high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol or other lipid disorders, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke and certain cancers. Even a small weight loss
(just 10 percent of your current weight) will help to lower your risk.

WEIGHT
 AND BODY MASS INDEX (BMI)

Body Mass Index uses height and weight to determine levels of body fat for the average person. Reaching and maintaining a healthy weight is important for overall health and can help you prevent and control many diseases and conditions. Being obese or overweight puts you at a higher risk of developing heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and certain cancers.

 

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5’9”

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5’10”

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6’2”

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Normal: 18.5 -24.9

Overweight: 25.0-29.9

Obese: 30.0 and above

 

CHOLESTEROL

Cholesterol is a fat-like substance that your body needs for energy. When you have too much in your blood, it can build up on the walls of your arteries leading to heart disease and stroke.

There are no symptoms of high cholesterol. Many people have never had their cholesterol checked, so they don’t know they’re at risk. A simple blood test can tell you your level. Everyone over 20 years of age should have his or her cholesterol checked at least every five years. 

The good news is that there are steps you can take to prevent high cholesterol—or to reduce your levels if they are high.  These include lifestyle changes and possible prescription medications.

A lipid panel test, or total cholesterol test, will analyze the following
fatty components of your blood:

  • Total cholesterol
  • LDL “bad cholesterol”
  • HDL “good cholesterol”
  • Triglycerides
  • (Pop-up when you click on the sub-bullets above)
    • Total cholesterol

 

Less than 200 mg/dL

Desirable

200–239 mg/dL

Borderline high

240 mg/dL and above

High

 

  • LDL “bad cholesterol”—the main source of cholesterol buildup and blockage in the arteries

 

Less than 100 mg/dL

Optimal

100–129 mg/dL

Near optimal

130–159 mg/dL

Borderline high

160–189 mg/dL

High


190 mg/dL and above

Very high

 

  • HDL “good cholesterol”— helps keep cholesterol from building up in the arteries

 

60 mg/dL and above

Best

50-59 mg/dL

Better

Below 50 mg/dL (Women)

Poor

Below 40 mg/dL (Men)

Poor

 

  • Triglycerides—another form of fat in the blood

150mg/dL and below

normal

150–199 mg/dL

borderline high

200 mg/dL and above

high

 

* Cholesterol levels are measured in milligrams (mg) of cholesterol per deciliter (dL) of blood.

BLOOD SUGAR/GLUCOSE LEVELS

Most of the food we eat is turned into glucose, or sugar, for our bodies to use for energy. Diabetes is a disease in which blood glucose levels are above normal. The pancreas, an organ that lies near the stomach, makes a hormone called insulin to help glucose get into the cells of our bodies. When you have diabetes, your body either doesn't make enough insulin or can't use its own insulin as well as it should. This causes sugar to build up in your blood-increasing the risk for heart disease.

People with diabetes must take responsibility for their day-to-day care, and keep blood glucose levels from going too low or too high. It’s important to see a health care provider who will monitor their diabetes and help them learn to manage their diabetes.

The guidelines below are based on a “fasting” blood test taken at least eight hours after eating.

Optimal

Less than 100 mg/dL

Prediabetes

Between 100 and 125 mg/dL

Diabetes

126 mg/dL or higher on two different days

 

*Glucose levels are measured as milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL).

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