Did you know that it's important for everyone to know their health numbers? By knowing your numbers, you can take action to make positive changes that will help prevent the onset of chronic health conditions.Your cholesterol is one of the numbers that's important for you to know, here's why:
Why is cholesterol important?
Cholesterol is a waxy, fat like substance or lipid that your body needs. When you have too much cholesterol in your blood, it can build up on your artery walls and narrow or eventually block the opening of blood vessels. This can put you at risk for heart disease and stroke.
What is a lipid profile?
A lipid profile (also known as a lipid panel) is a blood test that measures your cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and triglycerides.
LDL cholesterol is considered “bad” cholesterol because it contributes to plaque that can build up in the walls of your arteries, making them hard and narrow. This increases your risk for heart disease and stroke.
HDL cholesterol is considered “good” cholesterol because it helps remove LDL cholesterol from the arteries.
Triglycerides, in excess, can contribute to thickening of the artery walls which increases your risk for heart disease and stroke.
What are healthy lipid levels?
Total Cholesterol: Less than 200 mg/dL
LDL (Bad) Cholesterol: Less than100 mg/dL
HDL (Good) Cholesterol: 60 mg/dL or higher
Triglycerides: Less than 150 mg/dL
What can I do to lower my cholesterol?
- Eat a Heart Healthy Diet
- Maintain a Healthy Weight
- Move More
- Don’t Smoke
Lifestyle changes are your first line of defense against high cholesterol. If your cholesterol levels remain high, your doctor may recommend cholesterol lowering medication.Talk to your doctor or healthcare provider. Ask your doctor about having your lipid levels checked. You can also go to a clinic to get your numbers. Cut out the wallet-sized card in our "Keep Healthy and Know Your Numbers brochure on cholesterol", (Español), and keep it with you so that you can know your numbers.
Your blood pressure is another one of the numbers that's important for you to know, here's why:
Blood pressure facts
High blood pressure, also called hypertension, is a “silent killer.” You can have it for years without knowing. High blood pressure puts you at greater risk for a heart attack, stroke and kidney disease. Knowing your blood pressure is the first step to a healthy heart. You can go to your doctor or clinic to find out your blood pressure. If it’s high, you can work with your doctor to make lifestyle changes and take medicine to control it.
Your ideal blood pressure
Healthy: Less than 120/80
Pre-hypertension (at risk): 120/80-139/89
High: 140/90 and above
Simple Steps to Lower Blood Pressure
- Eat Healthy! Try eating less packaged and processed foods that are high in salt. Include fruits and vegetables in every meal. Learn how to cut back on your salt intake.
- Be Active! Add small amounts of exercise to your day to reach a minimum of 2.5 hours of physical activity a week.
- Sleep More! Aim for seven to eight hours of solid sleep a night.
Talk to Your Doctor or Health Care Provider
Ask your doctor to measure your blood pressure and your other health numbers, like blood sugar and cholesterol. Cut out the wallet-sized card in our Keep Healthy and Know Your Numbers brochure on blood pressure, (Español) and keep it with you so that you can know your numbers. If you don't have a health care provider, affordable health care is available at Health Centers in Westchester County. If you need help applying for health insurance, our Navigators provide free help. If you want to learn more about health care resources in Westchester, download our "Keep Healthy and Get Connected To Care", (Español), brochure.