Know Your Numbers

Because coronary disease is the leading cause of death for men and women, Dr. Kimberly J. Stone of Eagle Harbor Medical Associates said it is vital to assess these risk factors:

„„Blood pressure. Children as young as age 3 should have their blood pressure checked regularly. For adults, the systolic (top number) should be less than 120 and the diastolic (bottom number) below 80.

„„Diabetes. Anybody whose blood pressure is consistently greater than 135/80 should be screened for diabetes. The tests for diabetes analyze blood sugar and may include the hemoglobin A1c test as well as a glucose level. Patients should ask their physicians what their individual goals should be.

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„„Cholesterol. “Good cholesterol” is HDL. The “bad cholesterol” is LDL. Remember this by H is for higher and L is for lower. While the specific goal for the LDL depends on each patient’s other risks for coronary disease, a normal HDL is greater than 40.

You should also learn your body mass index (BMI) because obesity increases the risk for abnormal cholesterol, diabetes and high blood pressure. BMI measures your weight in relationship to your height. A child’s BMI should be checked regularly and what is normal will change over time. An adult’s BMI should be between 18.5 and 25.

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