Know Your Numbers

You need to know how to read them.


When a light goes off on your car's dashboard, it's a sign that something may be wrong. Your body has its own version of a dashboard, and it's important for you to know what’s on it and how to read it.

Blood Pressure
What it is: the measurement of how well your heart pumps blood through your body.

How to check it: Test your blood pressure for free at your local pharmacy. If it's higher than 120/80, it could indicate heart or kidney failure, aneurysms, or hardening of the arteries.

Blood Sugar
What it is: a measurement of the amount of sugar that is transported through the blood to supply energy to all the cells in the body.

How to check it: A glucose meter uses a drop of blood to measure your blood sugar level.  Some glucose meters take the sample from your finger with a special lancet device. Other meters use blood from your thigh, forearm, or the palm of your hand. Remember that your blood sugar level will change rapidly after eating, during exercise, and when you are stressed or sick. These are the best times to check your blood sugar level.

Cholesterol
What it is: a waxy substance produced by the liver and found in certain foods, needed to make vitamin D and some hormones, build cell walls, and digest fat.

How to check it: Schedule a visit with your doctor to get tested. You want your HDL (the good cholesterol) to be above 60, and your LDL (the bad cholesterol) to be below 100. If these numbers are too high or too low, it could lead to a high risk of heart disease.

BMI
What it is: a calculation of what percentage of your body is fat, based on your height and weight.

How to check it: Click here to calculate your BMI. If it’s not in the range it should be, take steps toward a healthier weight today.

Keep track of your numbers and talk to your physician about tracking the warning lights on your health dashboard.