Know your numbers—Preventive measures you can take for your health

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A key part of maintaining or improving your health is establishing a baseline with your doctor. If you know your target numbers, you can focus on areas of improvement and monitor your overall health. With a few simple steps, including visiting your doctor, you can better manage your health.

Target Numbers

  • Body Mass Index (BMI): A person’s BMI and waist circumference is generally a good indicator of health. Determining your ideal body weight depends on your sex, age, height, and body frame.
  • Blood sugar: Measuring the amount of sugar in the blood can indicate the presence of diabetes. Generally, a healthy number is below 100 after a fasting blood test.
  • Blood pressure: Blood pressure is recorded as two numbers—systolic and diastolic pressure. In general, most people pay more attention to the systolic pressure (top number) as a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Normal range for most people is 120/80 mm Hg.
  • Blood cholesterol: Checking your cholesterol involves both LDL (bad) and HDL (good) cholesterol numbers. A simple blood test can provide these numbers. For most people, total cholesterol should be under 200.

Knowing your target numbers provides a useful guide for you and your doctor. There are many tracking tools out there that can help you map out your numbers and identify any changes. Choose the one that works for you.