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New Year’s Resolution – Know Your Numbers

It’s entirely possible you are aware of the phrase “know your numbers”. You’ve likely seen it on billboards, in health providers literature and in the wellness initiatives of employers nationwide. But being aware of the phrase is a far cry from getting to the heart of the matter and actually knowing your numbers. And, more importantly, knowing what each number means in regard to your heart health.

Why not make a new year’s resolution to establish a base line for your numbers in 2018. Take this first but critical step with Dr. Zack Charkawi and start becoming “cardio smart”.

The important numbers to know

Blood pressure measures the force of blood against the arteries when the heart beats and rests. Systolic pressure, the top number, is the peak pressure in the arteries, and diastolic pressure, the bottom number, is the lowest pressure. The target number is 120/80.

Cholesterol is carried through your bloodstream by carriers made of fat, or lipids, and proteins. These are called lipoproteins. Two types of lipoproteins carry cholesterol to and from cells. One is low-density lipoprotein, or LDL. The other is high-density lipoprotein, or HDL. The combine to form your total cholesterol level which should be less than 180.

LDL, or Bad, Cholesterol, contributes to fatty buildups in arteries. Plaque buildups narrows arteries and raises the risk for heart attack, stroke and peripheral artery disease. The target number is less than 100.

HDL, or Good, Cholesterol, acts as a scavenger, carrying LDL cholesterol away from the arteries and back to the liver. There it’s broken down and passed from the body. HDL cholesterol does not completely eliminate LDL cholesterol. Only one-fourth to one-third of blood cholesterol is carried by HDL. The target number is greater than 60.

Triglycerides are the most common type of fat in the body; they store excess energy from your diet. A high triglyceride level combined with low HDL cholesterol or high LDL cholesterol is linked with fatty buildups in artery walls. This increases the risk of heart attack and stroke. The target number is less than 150.

Blood sugar measures sugar, or glucose, levels in the blood. The target level is less than 100.

Bone Mass Density, or BMD measures your bone mineral density in standard deviations compared to an established norm, to give you a score, known as a T-score. The target range is between +1 and -1 sd.

Body mass index, or BMI, is a reliable indicator of total body fat based on height and weight. The higher the BMI, the greater the risk for heart disease, stroke, hypertension and diabetes. The target range measured in percentages is between 18.6-24.9%.

The new year is a perfect time to establish a baseline for your numbers. At Johns Creek Family Medicine we work with our patients to create healthy lifestyles. We serve patients in South Forsyth, Gwinnett and North Fulton Counties plus the surrounding North Atlanta area. Dr. Zack Charkawi,  a member of the American Academy of Family Physicians will partner with you to get you on the road to becoming “cardio smart”.

This article does not take the place of professional medical advice. If you are concerned about your health or have any questions about any of your numbers, please contact the staff at Johns Creek Family Medicine to schedule an appointment.

© 2018 Johns Creek Family Medicine. All rights reserved.

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