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Know Your Numbers
Taking an active role in your health can help you ensure a long and healthy life. One step in taking charge of your health is knowing your heart health, particularly three key numbers:
You might be confused by all of the numbers associated with cholesterol. Some are “good” and some are “bad.” When your doctor measures cholesterol they are really talking about three different, but equally important, numbers: HDL, LDL and triglycerides. HDL is the high density lipoprotein, or “good”, cholesterol. LDL, or low density lipoprotein, is the “bad” cholesterol. HDL carries LDL out of the arteries, protecting against the build-up of plaque and hardening of arteries. So while you want your LDL to be low, it is actually good to have a higher range of HDL. Triglycerides are type of fat that is used to store excess energy derived from the foods you eat.
Now that you know what you’re monitoring, here are the numbers to strive for:
According to the American Heart Association, your waist size is one of the best predictors of heart disease risk. A waist size equal to or greater than 35 inches in women and equal to or greater than 40 inches in men increases risk of heart disease.
At every appointment with your primary care doctor, make sure you understand what these three numbers mean for your health and what, if any, changes you might need to do to help keep them in a healthy range.
If you need to find a primary care doctor, use our Physician Finder to set up an appointment today.