Numbers to Know to Stay in Touch with Your Heart Health
Even though you may be taking all the required precautions to avoid heart disease, you can’t truly know your heart health unless you know your numbers. What are these numbers? To have peace of mind that your heart is free from heart disease, you have to know your blood pressure, cholesterol level, and body mass index. While you can determine your BMI on your own, only a qualified physician can accurately gauge your blood pressure and cholesterol. If you have not recently been tested for them, make an appointment to see a doctor as soon as possible.
Your Blood Pressure
Your blood pressure indicates just how hard your heart is working to pump blood through your arteries. The higher the number, the more force is being exerted against the arteries, which can result in multiple heart health issues. Your blood pressure number is actually comprised of two figures. The first determines the force against the arteries as blood rushes through them. The second assesses the pressure against the arteries in the rest period between heart contractions. Blood pressure higher than 120/80 may indicate a heart health problem.
Your Cholesterol Level
Cholesterol is another factor that can impact your heart health. In general, cholesterol is not a bad substance; the body requires it for many functions. However, too much of it can negatively affect the heart. Any cholesterol not made by your body results from your food choices. Only animal products contain cholesterol, which is why you may want to reevaluate your meals and consider exchanging fatty meats for lean proteins such as fish and chicken. In addition to these dietary changes, see a doctor to have your cholesterol levels checked.
Your Body Mass Index
You may not think your weight is a problem, but knowing your body mass index may shed some light on whether you need to modify it. Even a few extra pounds can increase your risk for heart disease, so be sure to monitor your weight to make sure that you aren’t incurring any unnecessary heart disease risks.
West Hills Hospital & Medical Center provides thorough cardiovascular examinations for patients in the greater West Hills region. We also offer an iTriage service for those who may be experiencing a heart emergency. For more information, call (818) 676-4000.