Open Accessibility Menu

6 Numbers to Know for Your Heart Health

6 Numbers to Know for Your Heart Health

The phrase “heart health” is thrown around a lot, but it can be a bit vague. If you’re unsure where your heart stands, an easy way to get started is to look at six key numbers. These will help you gauge where you are heart-wise as well as your potential risk for heart disease.

  1. Blood pressure: the goal is 120/80 or less. When it’s too high, your heart works harder, making you more at risk for a heart attack or stroke.
  1. Cholesterol levels: pay close attention to your LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol, which is a major cause of coronary heart disease. Typically, less than 100 mg/dL is a healthy range.
  1. Blood glucose: this is the predominant way to screen for Type 2 diabetes, and you’re typically asked to fast beforehand. A normal fasting blood glucose level for someone without diabetes is 70 to 99 mg/dL, whereas levels between 100-125 mg/dL are considered the prediabetic range.
  1. BMI (body mass index): 18.5 to 24.9 is considered a normal range for this weight-height calculation. A BMI over 30 especially increases your risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and sleep apnea.
  1. How many hours you sleep each night: adults with healthier sleep patterns – ideally 7-9 hours daily -- manage health factors like weight, blood pressure or risk for Type 2 diabetes more effectively
  1. How many steps a day you take: for your heart to get the most benefit you should be active – try for 10,000 steps a day and five minutes of movement each hour – and exercise, too.

If you haven’t had a checkup or wellness exam recently, that’s step one to getting a baseline or more recent update on your numbers. If you do know your numbers, and they’re not within normal range, talk to your doctor about a plan to get them back on track. Unlike family history, these are all factors that can be impacted by changes in your lifestyle.

Keeping up with regular wellness exams is the best way to stay on top of your heart health and catch any potential issues early.