Know your Numbers 101 (Basic)

know-your-numbers

 

Welcome to my very first blog. The reason that I have designed this blog is to deliver relevant, easy to understand health information to my non-medical friends and family. From the time of my graduation until now I have primarily been exposed to urban populations where medical literacy non-existent. This lack of information and lack of understanding has contributed immensely to the poor control of chronic illnesses which then leads to poor outcomes such as strokes, heart attacks, amputations, blindness, kidney failure, late stage cancer detection (which hits home for me). These conditions not only take a great toll on patients but also family members who are often the caregivers. I hope that readers will learn about various common health topics and become motivated to keep up with their “NUMBERS”. Knowledge is power. Knowing your numbers and understanding how you can affect them is crucial in preventing complications. This delivery of information is designed to follow the KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) model. In depth discussions  about your specific numbers should be reviewed with your medical provider.

Let’s start with these important NUMBERS that EVERY adult should know, regardless of health status

1.Weight and BMI with a target BMI of 18.6 to 24.9 BMI calculator

2. Waist circumference of <35″ for women and <40″ for men

2. Blood Pressure- this is the force of blood in the arteries when the heart contracts and then relaxes- There are various BP targets for different groups, so discuss which target is right for you with your provider but the GENERAL recommended range is <130/80. (I said general – just to give an IDEA ! so listen to your provider regarding your target BP )

3. Cholesterol- Total cholesterol level and HDL (good cholesterol) level. Optimal would be <200 for total, 50+ for HDL and <100 for LDL – AGAIN this is general and your target might be different. I am looking forward to describing my personal experience with modifying my cholesterol levels.

4. Sugar level – Random/ Fasting or a blood test called Hemoglobin A1c which is a measure of the glycosylated hemoglobin in your blood. It will give an idea of your average blood sugars over the period of 3 months. 6.4 + means you are diabetic.

If you do not currently have a Primary Care Physician I would recommend to establish care so that you and your doctor can have a detailed discussion about what these numbers mean and your specific targets.

Please also remember that high blood pressure, high cholesterol or low HDL cholesterol, slightly higher sugars are all asymptomatic so distrusting your provider when they recommend a treatment because you “feel fine” is simply unacceptable.

 

Sources:

Know Your Health NumbersAmerican Heart Association. 2016 Sep 9.

The health effects of weight and obesityThe Center for Disease Control and Prevention. 2015 June 5.

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