Get Heart Smart: Know Your Numbers

Brought to you by: Cleveland Clinic Florida

March 1, 2016

Heart disease remains the leading cause of death in the United States. There are several risk factors, some are controllable, but others are not. The more risk factors you have, the greater the likelihood that you will develop heart disease.

Major risk factors include genetics, smoking, diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. Some other factors that can contribute to heart disease include stress, obesity, and lack of exercise.

What can you do to improve your cardiovascular health? 

When it comes to your health, there are some numbers you should know by heart:

1. LDL Cholesterol

Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol is a major cause of coronary heart disease. It’s the culprit behind most cholesterol buildup and arterial blockages in your body.

2. Body Mass Index (BMI)

Your BMI calculates your body fat, based on your height and weight. The higher your BMI, the greater your risks of heart disease, stroke, hypertension and diabetes.

3. Fasting Glucose

When your body can’t make insulin or respond well to it, glucose builds up in the blood, damaging blood vessels and nerves.

4. Waist Circumference

Did you know that having an “apple” shape, where fat sits around your middle, is more risky for your heart than having a “pear” shape, where fat sits around your hips?

5. Triglycerides

Many people don’t realize that triglycerides are not a type of cholesterol. But high levels of this blood fat are linked to coronary heart disease, especially in women.

6. Blood Pressure

Blood pressure often, but not always, rises as we age. High blood pressure (hypertension) is silent, but it raises risks of heart disease, stroke and other problems.

What are some simple preventative tips?

Discover if your numbers are where they should be, and get tips for disease prevention and heart-healthy living. Live a healthy lifestyle by incorporating exercise as a regular part of your daily activities. Make it your goal to maintain an ideal body weight by eating a healthy diet.

Make an appointment with your physician to discuss your personal history and your health concerns. Your physician can recommend screening tests, to obtain a preliminary assessment. Based on the results, a heart healthy plan can be developed, including appropriate diet and exercise program.

By making changes in your lifestyle, you can actually reduce your risk of developing a heart attack or death from coronary disease. Although advances in cardiac treatments have helped many patients, it’s important to remember that prevention remains the best cure.  Everyone should educate themselves by being aware of the risk factors and knowing their numbers.


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