Dr. Smolens: Know your health numbers

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Being aware of your risk of disease can help you manage, rectify or even prevent the condition from progressing -- this is why it’s imperative to know your critical health numbers.

Dr. Iva Smolens

So, what does it mean to know your numbers? It’s being knowledgeable of key figures for your total cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar, Body Mass Index (BMI), HDL (good) cholesterol and LDL (bad) cholesterol.

Knowing the most vital numbers for your heart health can potentially save your life.

Ideal numbers adults should strive for include:

  • Blood pressure: Less than 120/80 mm HG
  • Fasting Blood Sugar: 100 mg/dl
  • Body Mass Index: a BMI of 18.6-24.9
  • Total Cholesterol: LDL and HDL cholesterols

Meet with a medical professional

Schedule a visit with your healthcare provider and discover where your numbers currently stand. During the checkup, your doctor will be able to screen for irregularities, and asses your risk for heart disease and stroke.

If health concerns are detected, then the physician can help develop a plan to manage the conditions and reach target levels. Methods to correcting the issue may include limiting salt intake, stress management, medication, dietary changes, or exercise.

Monitor your health at home

You can also take steps in between your doctor visits to find out more about your numbers. Track your blood pressure with an at-home blood pressure monitor. Assess your body weight with bathroom scales and check your blood sugar with glucose monitors until you can sit down with a physician.

Take charge of your well-being

Heart disease and stroke are the No. 1 and No. 5 causes of deaths in the U.S. We can change this as 80% of cardiac at stroke events can be prevented with education and action.

Some conditions—like high blood pressure and high cholesterol—do not present symptoms. So, the only way to know if your health is in danger is to get tested.

Take control of your cardiovascular health today and discuss your health numbers with your physician. For more information, visit heart.org.

About the author and the 2019 Phoenix Heart Ball

Dr. Iva Smolens is a board-certified cardiothoracic surgeon who graduated from the SUNY Downstate Medical Center College of Medicine. She is also an American Heart Association volunteer and is committed to spreading awareness about heart health and fundraising initiatives, such as Heart Ball—one of the leading American Heart Association fundraising events.

The 60th Annual Phoenix Heart Ball will take place on Saturday, Nov. 23. The Heart Ball lends a voice to heart disease by raising funds and awareness for vital community programs, professional education and research that benefits the American Heart Association.

It started with Peggy Goldwater, wife of Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater, at the Jerry Lewis Koko Theater Restaurant in 1959. Her pledge to raise funds, coordinate and host the most lavish soiree at that time held true. Today, 60 years later, the Phoenix Heart Ball has grown to be one of the most anticipated galas benefiting the American Heart Association. Over the past six decades, the ball has hosted over 35,000 guests and raised more than $37 million.

For more information, visit phoenixheartball.heart.org.

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