You probably keep lots of numbers in your head these days, but there are three that matter most when it comes to health: blood glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol.
“Keeping tabs on these numbers can give you a snapshot of your overall health,” says Rodrigo Tobar Jr., D.O., of Family Medicine PC in Southfield. “If you can keep these numbers within a healthy range, you lower your odds of getting one of the two major health conditions that trouble millions of Americans--diabetes and heart disease."
Dubbed "the ABCs of health," these important numbers stand for:
A1C. you get this number from a blood test that shows average blood glucose levels, or blood sugar, over a two-to three-month period.
Blood pressure. If blood pressure is too high, your heart has to work too hard, which affects the whole body, inside and out. Target number: 110/70 mm Hg
Cholesterol. Checks (recommended every five years) measure cholesterol, the amount of fat in your blood.
- LDL (bad cholesterol): Below 100 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL)of blood, or even lower if you have heart and blood vessel disease.
- HDL (good cholesterol): Above 40 mg/dL for men, 50 mg/dL for women.
"The good news is that once people know these numbers, they can change them for the better rather quickly," says Dr. Tobar. "A combination of losing weight, following a healthy diet, taking medicine, and adding exercise to your daily routine may help you reach your goal in all three areas."