Five things you should know about your heart health
Tue, 18 Feb 2014 15:16:46 GMT —
The human heart is often used as a symbol of love.
February is American heart month, a time to show yourself some love and learn about your risk for heart disease and stroke so you can stay "heart healthy" for yourself and your loved ones.
It's the number one killer in the United States, taking the lives of 600,000 Americans every year.
Cardiovascular Disease is also a leading cause of disability, preventing Americans from working and enjoying family activities and it is all preventable.
"The likelihood of heart attacks or strokes is directly proportional to the amount of risk factors that they have, interventional cardiologist Dr. Federico Azpurua said.
Azpurua says there are five numbers everyone should know when it comes to their heart health.
First, blood pressure - the measurement of how hard your heart is working.
A blood pressure of 120 over 80 or lower is considered healthy, but despite the fact that it is so easy to check, Azpurua says most people don't know their number.
"You can go to the grocery store or pharmacy, most of them have blood pressure cuffs where you can get your blood pressure measured in a matter of minutes, Azpurua said.
Second, Body mass index - the proportion of your height to weight.
You can easily find your BMI online by entering your height and weight into a body mass index calculator.
"It TMs a range, there's white, black and a huge gray scale, Azpurvua said.
A BMI below 25 is considered normal, 25-29 is overweight, and 30 and up is obese.
Your blood sugar tells your doctor how much glucose is in your blood.
If those levels are too high, you are more likely to become diabetic.
A healthy fasting blood sugar number is under 100, which can be measured with an easy blood draw.
"You should monitor your blood levels once per year when you go to your annual physical exam then blood work should be done and will include your sugar level, Azpurua said.
Shrinking your waistline isn't just for looks; it can do your heart a lot of good.
"The bigger your waist is the greater your risk for cardiovascular events; heart attack, stroke, diabetes and all these things that make the prognosis worse, Azpurua said.
Remember your waist circumference is measured at your belly button, not where your clothing waistband sits.
Men should measure less than 40 inches, women less than 35 inches.
Having a big belly is worse than having fat distributing across your body," Azpurua said.
High cholesterol can lead to blocked arteries and heart disease.
A healthy number is below 200, which can also be determined in your blood work.
The American Heart Association recommends every adult exercise five to seven days a week for at least 30 minutes of moderate to intense activity to stay heart healthy.