5 Numbers to Know By Heart

A visit to the doctor can be overwhelming. Between finding the right office, figuring out insurance forms, and that sick kid coughing next to you in the lobby, you might feel more stressed out than you were when you booked your appointment. Then comes the doctor lingo and all the numbers. If you find yourself wondering: “What does this even mean?!”—you’re not alone. To maintain optimum heart health and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, here are five notable numbers to know.

Blood Pressure: Measures pressure in the arteries when the heart beats, over pressure in the arteries between beats as the heart muscle refills with blood. Normal is 120/80.

BMI (Body Mass Index): Measurement of body fat based on an individual’s height and weight. Between 18.5 and 25 is considered normal. Anything below 18.5 is considered underweight and a number above 25 is considered overweight. Numbers above 30 indicate varying degrees of obesity.

Waist Circumference: Measures fat carried around the abdomen. When measured around the waist at the belly button, a normal number for women is less than 35 inches; a normal number for men is less than 40 inches.

Cholesterol: A fatty substance present in all of the body’s cells. There are different types of cholesterol, but a healthy number overall is below 200. A healthy number for LDL (low-density lipoprotein), or bad cholesterol, is below 100. A healthy number for HDL (high-density lipoprotein), or good cholesterol, is above 60.

Blood Sugar: Measures glucose in the blood. A normal number is under 100, after fasting for eight hours.

Remember, these numbers are relative to the general population. Get to know your own numbers by talking to your doctor and discussing what numbers are healthy for you.

Source: Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center