February is American Heart Month.
Did you know that Heart Disease is the number one killer of women in the United States, not Breast Cancer?
Heart Disease is the cause of one out of 3 deaths of women each year, one woman every minute! Heart disease strikes more women than men, and one in 31 women dies from breast cancer each year.
Cardiovascular diseases are preventable and manageable. Genetics, gender, and ethnicity do play a role in developing CVD, but at the end of the day, lifestyle is the primary contributor.
Do you know your health numbers and why they are vital to your health and body?
Health numbers are significant because they can indicate whether an individual can or could develop certain life-threatening diseases or predispose to them.
“The goal is to keep your health markers in check so that you can lead a healthy life.”
Most people get an annual physical from their family doctor, which includes blood tests, weight and blood pressure measurements, and sometimes a stress test. In a few days or weeks, you will receive a printed report from your doctor containing the results of your annual physical examination.
Unless you receive a phone call from the doctor, you can safely assume that everything is normal and continue your daily routine without worrying about the numbers on the report. Most doctors will not review your numbers unless you ask.
No matter what your numbers are, there is always room for improvement. The most important thing to know is that you can make a difference by making small changes in your lifestyle choices.
For example, adding daily physical activity, eating more fruits and vegetables, stopping cigarette smoking, and reducing alcoholic drinks will have a healthy and positive impact on your body.
Blood pressure consists of two numbers: systolic and diastolic.
Your systolic pressure measures the blood against artery walls when the heart pumps blood out during a heartbeat.
The diastolic pressure measures the same pressure between heartbeats when the heart fills with blood.
1 in 3 Americans have high blood pressure, which is the primary culprit for heart disease, stroke, congestive heart failure, and kidney disease.
- Normal blood pressure is below 120/80
- Pre-hypertension is 120 to 139 (systolic) and 80 to 89 (diastolic)
- Hypertension – also known as high blood pressure — is 140 or higher (systolic) and 90 or higher (diastolic)
Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that your body needs. However, when you have too much in your blood, it can build up on the walls of your arteries.
There are no symptoms of high cholesterol until it is too late. High cholesterol can lead to heart disease, stroke, or heart attack.
So many people have never had their cholesterol checked and are unaware they are at risk.
A simple blood test can tell you your cholesterol level.
There are two types of cholesterol: “happy” cholesterol and “lethal” cholesterol. When measuring cholesterol and blood fats, there are three numbers: HDL, LDL, and triglycerides. Although these three numbers combine to give an overall “lipid profile” score, the individual scores for each are the most important.
- A healthy cholesterol level is below 200 milligrams
- HDL (happy) High-Density Lipoprotein 40-59mg/dl
- LDL (lethal) Low-Density Lipoprotein 0-99mg/dl
- Healthy Triglycerides level 0-149mg/dl
Why is glucose significant? Glucose level plays a role in developing pre-diabetes.
There are two types of diabetes. Type 1 is insulin-dependent (non-insulin production), and type 2 is non-insulin-dependent (lifestyle choice). With the obesity rate sky-rocketing in our society, more adults and children are developing type 2 diabetes.
Glucose or sugar is the product of food. When you eat, food breaks down into glucose. Glucose is immediately used or stored for future energy.
Too much glucose or sugar in the bloodstream can cause damage to the body’s organs, and too little glucose in the bloodstream may lead to shakiness, confusion, and a diabetic coma.
Maintaining stable blood sugar levels is necessary for a healthy lifestyle. According to the American Diabetes Association, to prevent diabetes, health providers suggest that people watch their intake of sugar and starches, maintain a healthy weight, and exercise.
- Healthy Glucose level 70-100mg/dl
Make a powerful statement and wear RED February. Together, we can bring awareness about our Red Heart, educate ourselves and others, take personal responsibility, and commit to adopting and living a healthy lifestyle.