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Love Your Heart: Count Me In

pressure gauge

Numbers say a lot. For instance, they can tell you how healthy your heart is. By charting your blood pressure, glucose and cholesterol over time, you’ll get a pretty good picture of how well you’re “loving your heart.”

Opinions vary among physicians, but in general, these are good numbers to strive for:

Blood pressure: 120/80 – Systolic b.p. (upper number) is the pressure when the heart beats while pumping blood. Diastolic b.p. (lower number) is the pressure when the heart is at rest between beats.

Blood sugar (glucose): 100 mg/dL or less (fasting) – Check your blood sugar first thing in the morning. If it’s 100 or less, it’s normal. Over 126 indicates diabetes. If it’s between 100 and 125, your doctors might diagnose you with insulin resistance or pre-diabetes.

Regular exercise: 30 minutes each day – Daily activity, of course, is great for your heart health. It gets your blood pumping, boosts your energy level, improves your mood and promotes weight loss.

Body mass index: 25 or less – BMI is an attempt to quantify the amount of tissue mass (muscle, fat and bone) in an individual, and categorize him/her as underweight, normal weight, overweight or obese.

Waist circumference: 35 inches or less (women) and 40 inches or less (men) – If your waist measurement exceeds these numbers, you should talk to your physician about a weight loss program.

Cholesterol: 200 mg/dL or less – This is a measure of the total amount of cholesterol in your blood.

LDL (bad) cholesterol: 100 mg/dL or less – LDL is the main source of cholesterol buildup and blockage in your arteries.

HDL (good) cholesterol: 60 mg/dL or more for women and men – HDL helps remove cholesterol from your arteries.

Triglycerides: 150 or less mg/dL – A lipid profile will reveal your triglyceride level, a form of fat in your blood that can raise your risk of heart disease.

Need a primary care doctor? To schedule an appointment with any of our Baton Rouge General Physicians, please call (225) 763-4500.

The information in these articles is based on statistics and guidelines provided by the American Heart Association, National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control, and Baton Rouge General clinical staff.

ways to love your heart graphic