Knowing your numbers! What Numbers do you need to know? Are you familiar with the vital numbers that determine whether you are at risk of developing a non-communicable disease such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes?
Your heart is a major organ in the body responsible for pumping blood through the blood vessels. It is important that you take active steps to look after your heart so it can look after you. It is no doubt that heart disease is a major cause of death for both men and women regardless of their races or ethnic background around the world.
Knowing the risk factors that are within your control for heart disease is equally important; as there are many things you can do to maintain a healthy heart.
The following risk factors even though they sound familiar can be controlled.
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Overweight or obese
- Type 2 diabetes
- Unhealthy eating
Early detection of your health numbers going out of healthy range and limits can help you take practical steps to get your heart back into good health.
Having a high cholesterol level can be a major cause of heart attack and does not usually present with symptoms. Total Cholesterol is a measure of LDL cholesterol (bad), HDL cholesterol (good) and other lipids such as triglycerides. Total cholesterol should be less than 5mmol/L. Therefore aim for a high HDL cholesterol of above 1mmol/L, and a low LDL cholesterol of below 3mmol/L. Triglycerides should be below 1.7mmol/L fasting and below 2.3mmol/L non-fasting.
Blood pressure is the amount of force needed to pump blood through the body by the heart. High blood pressure increases the risk of heart disease and can cause stroke and kidney disease if left untreated. A blood pressure of 120/80mmHg is within an acceptable range.
Your blood sugar is equally important as glucose is stored in the form of sugar in the blood and are the main source of energy. High or low glucose levels can cause diabetes. If you experience symptoms such as frequent urination, thirst, unexplained weight loss, fatigue, blurred vision; it may be a sign of diabetes and it is recommended that you see a doctor. A normal blood sugar level is put at 4-5mmol/L fasting and up to 7.8mmol/L after eating.
Your Body Mass Index (BMI) is a measure of your body fat and a determinant of whether you are overweight, underweight, or obese. It uses a measure of your height (m2) and your weight (kg) to determine if your weight is healthy. A BMI less than 25is an indication that your weight is within a healthy range, over 25 indicates that you are overweight and over 30 indicates that you are obese. Being overweight is a risk factor for high cholesterol, heart disease and diabetes.
Knowing these numbers can help you reduce the risks of developing and prevent heart disease. By taking control of your health following a healthy lifestyle will reduce the risk of developing illness and increase chances of living a longer and healthy life.
The following have been recommended to help you take control.
- Ensure you get regular checks with your doctor.
- Check blood cholesterol at least once every 5years.
- Drink alcohol in moderation.
- Quit smoking.
- Maintain a healthy weight through regular exercise.
- Follow a healthy diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol.
- Limit salt intake.
- Manage your stress level.
Please note that contents of Pharmahealthtalk health advice and healthy tips are no substitute for any advice recommended by your doctor or other healthcare professionals. Always seek a medical opinion for your health conditions.