You may have seen or heard public service announcements recently about knowing your health numbers. According to the American Heart Association, knowing and managing these numbers has a major impact on your health and can even affect how long you live.
What Health Numbers Should I Know?
The four numbers you need to know are the following:
- Blood sugar
- Blood pressure
- Body weight
Keep reading to find more information on the recommended ranges, how to test for your numbers, and what you should do to improve your numbers.
Blood sugar levels are tested through a blood test. While a doctor or nurse may draw blood, you can also use a blood sugar monitor that pricks your finger to tell you what the level of glucose, or sugar, is in your system.
Your blood sugar levels will vary from day to day and change significantly based off of what you eat or drink. However, a normal range when your blood is taken first thing in the morning or after fasting is 70–99 mg/dl. If you have diabetes, normal range is 80-130. If you’d like to learn more, please visit Diabetes Self-Management.
If your numbers are too high, talk to your doctor and begin to manage your health better by reducing carbohydrates/sugar and exercising regularly.
You can test for high or low blood pressure at just about any pharmacy in America. There are often calibrated cuffs that you can use, but you can also get tested at your doctor’s office or even with a cuff in your own home.
Ideal blood pressure ranges from 90/120 systolic (the top number) and 60-80 diastolic (the bottom number). If your blood pressure is too low or high, you need to talk to your doctor immediately as he or she will make recommendations on treatment. Depending on how high or low, the treatment may be a minor lifestyle adjustment or a major intervention.
Cholesterol, or the fat in your blood, is also tested through a blood test and is performed at your doctor’s office. Numbers vary based on age, so we suggest you refer to this chart to check your numbers.
Eating a healthy diet and exercising are the best way to limit bad cholesterol and encourage good cholesterol. Your doctor will make recommendations for you based on your levels.
Your ideal weight varies based on your gender, height, age, and frame. Based off of these variables, you can calculate your BMI, or Body Mass Index. However, it is recommended that women have a waistline under 35 inches and men have a waistline under 40 inches. Click here to find your BMI. A healthy range is 18.5-24.9.
A healthy diet and regular exercise is the very best thing you can do to maintain a healthy BMI.