Even if you feel healthy, it’s important to keep track of your health numbers so you’ll know if you’re at risk for chronic health conditions, especially if your family has a history of heart disease or stroke. Online tools and calculators are a great way help measure your health. Get started today to learn your health numbers and get a snapshot of your health.
Body fat percentage
A high body fat percentage in men and women can indicate obesity and a high risk for cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, certain cancers and sleep apnea. A body fat percentage higher than 30 percent in women and 20 percent in men are considered high and increase these risks.
Body mass index (BMI)
BMI is used to indicate weight ranges: underweight, normal weight, overweight and obesity, in adults and children using height and weight proportions. A high BMI can indicate risk of pre-diabetes and a higher risk of heart attack and stroke.
A high waist circumference in men and women can indicate higher risks of type 2 diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease. The waist measurement is taken just above the navel at the natural waist in both men and women. If your BMI is greater than or equal to 25 kg/m2, your goal for waist circumference is less than 40 inches if you’re a man and less than 35 inches if you’re a woman.
Unscrambling the meaning behind blood pressure numbers isn’t that difficult when you understand what you’re looking for. Blood pressure readings are two numbers combined into a ratio of Systolic (the pressure in the arteries when your heart beats) and Diastolic (the pressure in the arteries when your heart is relaxed between beats and refilling with blood). After using an automatic blood pressure monitor or after getting blood pressure results from your doctor, compare your numbers to find out if your blood pressure is within a healthy range. If not, talk to your healthcare provider to discuss treatment options.
Healthy cholesterol levels are important to a healthy heart and brain. To measure your cholesterol levels, you need a blood test to determine your total cholesterol, LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, HDL (good) cholesterol levels and your triglyceride levels. The average level of LDL (bad) cholesterol for men and women over the age of 20 is 115 mg/dL. For HDL (good) cholesterol, a higher number is recommended with optimal levels being over 60 mg/dL.
The best way to lower your risk and stay healthy is to eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly and monitor your health numbers closely. For more tips and tools to improve your health, visit heart.org.