Life begins with the heart’s first beat, and ends with its last. In all the years in between, the better taken care of a heart is, the more likely it is to keep going for a long, long time. Taking care of the heart though, is a lot more than just keeping in shape and eating right. When it comes to knowing how healthy your heart is and what you can do to keep it healthy, the following are important numbers you should know.
Know Where It Stands
“Cholesterol is a major factor in heart health and not all cholesterol is bad,” says Dr. Sedillo of CardioVacular Solutions in Bradenton, Florida. It is important to have a lipoprotein panel run on a regular basis and to pay attention to any numbers that indicate a problem. You want LOW levels of LDL and Higher numbers of HDL. The measurements are expressed as mg/dl, but often just referred to as the mg when discussing them.
Levels of LDL: 190 and more is considered dangerously high and indicates plaque may be building up in the arteries. Some doctors will even prescribe medication to lower it before it hits 190.
Levels of HDL: You want at least 40, but ideally 60 and higher is considered best.
Triglycerides: Most fat inside the body exists as triglycerides. A normal level is anything less than 150, after which the chance for cardiovascular disease increases ever fifty points. Anything above 200 is considered high and 500 or more is extremely dangerous.
Total Cholesterol: Is calculated as LDL + HDL + 20% of the triglycerides. The optimal result to aim for is 180. There are many different factors that can affect the levels of HDL, LDL, and triglycerides. Patients should speak with their doctor regarding lifestyle and dietary changes, including medications, that can help to manage their cholesterol levels for a healthier heart.