3 Vital Heart Health Numbers You Can't Ignore: Track Your Way to a Healthier Heart.
The heart is one of the most critical organs in the human body. Taking care of your heart should be a top priority, but how do you know if you're doing it right? The answer lies in understanding and monitoring three crucial numbers that directly impact your heart health. Keeping an eye on these metrics can help you stay on track and maintain a strong, healthy heart.
#1: Blood Pressure
Blood pressure is the force exerted by your blood against the walls of your arteries as your heart pumps it around your body. The American Heart Association (AHA) states that optimal blood pressure should be below 120/80 mm Hg.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly half of all adults in the United States (108 million, or 45%) have hypertension (high blood pressure). Hypertension is a major risk factor for heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease. By keeping your blood pressure in check, you can significantly reduce your risk for these complications.
#2: Cholesterol Levels
Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance found in your blood. While some cholesterol is essential for your body to function properly, too much of it can be harmful. There are two main types of cholesterol: low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, known as the "bad" cholesterol, and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, known as the "good" cholesterol.
The AHA recommends maintaining an LDL cholesterol level below 100 mg/dL and an HDL cholesterol level of 60 mg/dL or higher. According to the CDC, about 38% of American adults have high LDL cholesterol levels, increasing their risk for heart disease.
#3: Body Mass Index (BMI)
Body Mass Index (BMI) is a measure that helps you determine if you're at a healthy weight for your height. A high BMI can increase your risk for heart disease and other chronic conditions. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) states that a BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 is considered normal, while a BMI of 25 to 29.9 is overweight, and a BMI of 30 or higher is obese.
The CDC reports that nearly 75% of American adults are either overweight or obese, contributing to a higher risk of developing heart disease and other health issues.
Understanding these three vital heart health numbers - blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and BMI - can help you maintain a healthy heart and reduce your risk of heart disease. Monitor these metrics regularly and consult with your healthcare provider to develop a plan tailored to your specific needs.