September 3 2004 - HEART DISEASE -- KNOW YOUR NUMBERS

Press Release - September 3, 2004
HEART DISEASE -- KNOW YOUR NUMBERS

NUMBERS YOU SHOULD KNOW

There are several important numbers that every adult should know. These numbers are indicators of the health of your heart. Numbers you should know include: blood pressure, BMI and cholesterol.

Blood pressure is a measurement of the force of the blood that presses against the artery walls as your heart pumps oxygen-rich blood through your body. When you have high blood pressure, the heart has to pump harder to push blood through the arteries. You can have high blood pressure and have no symptoms. Your blood pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury.

The top number, or systolic blood pressure, should be less than 130. The bottom number, or diastolic blood pressure, should be less than 90. If your blood pressure is elevated and left untreated, it could lead to heart disease, thickening of the heart muscle and stroke.

Elevated blood pressure is treated with dietary improvements, exercise and at times the use of medications is required to keep your blood pressure in a controlled range.

BMI stands for body mass index. This number uses your height and weight to estimate your percentage of body fat. If your BMI is at or above 25, you are overweight and at risk for elevated blood fats, elevated blood pressure, diabetes and an increased risk for heart disease and stroke. An elevated BMI is treated with diet and exercise, with a goal of lowering your weight to an acceptable range.

Cholesterol is one of several components that make up your lipid profile. Total cholesterol is a number that reflects your “good” and “bad” cholesterol at a given point in time. The “good” cholesterol, HDL (high density lipoprotein) should be at least 35-45.

The “good” cholesterol helps transport the “bad” cholesterol to the liver for elimination from the body. The “bad” cholesterol, LDL (low density lipoprotein) should be less than 130. If you have known heart disease your LDL should be less than 100. The “bad” cholesterol is responsible for laying down the fatty plaques in the artery walls. Triglycerides are fatty acids and should be less than 150. Your cholesterol level and lipid profile should only be tested after fasting for 8 to 12 hours.

Ask your physician for the numbers you should know. You can begin to improve your numbers today by simple measures such as limiting the amount of saturated fats and sweets in your diet and incorporating even small amounts of exercise into your daily routine. Simple steps such as parking a few spaces further from the door of a building, taking stairs instead of the elevator or walking for 20 minutes several times a week will improve your cardiovascular health.

For more information, call TeleCare Plus at 903-531-5678.

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