With COVID-19 on everyone’s mind, it’s still important to look after yourself by getting the medical care you need to stay healthy.
Keeping up with your health and wellness is as simple as 1, 2, 3 or 120 over 80 if you’re monitoring your blood pressure. Numbers play an important part in tracking your health and the more you know, the better you will understand how to stay in a healthy range.
Screenings and tests provide you with the numbers you need to stay on track and stay ahead of health concerns that increase as you age.
During your annual wellness visit your doctor will measure the strength of the blood moving through your veins. This is your blood pressure. If your blood pressure is high (hypertension), it strains your arteries and your heart and can lead to heart attack and stroke.
Every blood pressure reading consists of two numbers. The first (or top) number is the systolic blood pressure. It is the hardest your blood pressure moves against the walls of your veins when your heart beats. The second (or bottom) number is the diastolic blood pressure. This is the lowest pressure of your blood pushing against your veins as your heart relaxes between beats.
Here are the numbers you need to know to keep your blood pressure in check:
Top Number Bottom Number Category
Below 120 Below 80 Normal
Between 120-139 Between 80-90 Prehypertension
Between 140-159 Between 90-99 Stage 1 hypertension
160 or higher 100 or higher Stage 2 hypertension
Cholesterol and triglycerides
Cholesterol is a waxy substance that is found in foods from animals and is also created in your liver. Foods high in saturated and trans fats such as meat, poultry, some oils and dairy products cause the liver to make more cholesterol than it otherwise would. There are two types of cholesterol – LDL or Bad Cholesterol that causes buildup and blockage in the arteries and HDL or Good Cholesterol that helps remove buildup in the arteries. Too much Bad Cholesterol and not enough Good Cholesterol can lead to a heart attack or stroke.
You can control your cholesterol by eliminating controllable risk factors such as smoking and high blood pressure and through diet and exercise. If you are age 20 or older, you should have your cholesterol measured every five years. Know your numbers to keep track of your health.
Healthy cholesterol levels are:
• Total cholesterol level should be less than 200 mg/dL*
• Bad Cholesterol (LDL) should be less than 100 mg/dL
• Good Cholesterol (HDL) should be above 40 mg/dL for men and above 50 mg/dL for women
*Milligrams per Deciliter
Alongside monitoring your blood pressure and your cholesterol, you also need to know your numbers for your triglycerides, a type of fat found in your blood. Triglycerides store unused calories that are released between meals for energy. Eating more calories than you burn can cause you to have high triglycerides. High triglycerides can increase your risk of heart disease.
A simple blood test can reveal whether your triglycerides fall into a healthy range:
• Normal – less than 150 mg/dL
• Borderline high – 150 to 199 mg/dL
• High – 200 to 499 mg/dL
• Very high – 500 mg/dL
Monitoring your health is an important part of maintaining it, and blood tests can provide a wealth of information. In addition to measuring cholesterol and triglycerides, values on a blood test can alert you to potential issues related to your organs and their functionality. Cabell Huntington Hospital offers a Healthy Numbers Blood Profile for $25 thru July 31, 2020. No appointment is necessary and the CHH Lab is open Monday through Friday from 6:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday from 7 a.m. to noon. Simply cut out the coupon below and present it with your payment to the first floor Lab Reception Desk.
For more information please call 304.526.2145.