Knowing what number pops up when you step on the scale is a source of anxiety for many people, especially those on a weight loss plan who would like to see something lower than what appears.
While the scale may cause you to shy away, there are certain numerals you need to know to keep your heart healthy. You may be strict on eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly and taking your garcinia cambogia, but it's good to know if there are further steps you can take to truly enjoy healthy living.
According to LiveScience, researchers from Ohio State University did a study involving more than 2,000 adults from the U.S. and surveyed them about their body mass index (BMI). The results showed that 2 out of 3 Americans didn't know what constitutes a healthy BMI. When asked if a person with a BMI of 24 is obese, normal or underweight, only 38 percent of the participants got the correct answer.
Five numbers to know for heart health
"There really are five numbers everyone should know when it comes to heart health," Dr. Martha Gulati, director of preventive cardiology and women's cardiovascular health at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, told LiveScience. "Once you learn those numbers, they can not only tell you how healthy you are today, but can help your doctor predict heart problems in the future."
BMI: Body mass index is found by dividing weight (in kilograms) by the square of height (in meters). If a person is underweight, their BMI is 18.5 or lower, but a BMI of 25 through 29.9 is considered overweight and a measure of 30 or more is obese. If you fall into the overweight or obese category, it increases your risk of health complications.
Blood pressure: Blood pressure readings include two numbers: The systolic pressure is read when the heart beats and the diastolic pressure is read in between beats. A healthy reading is around 120/80 millimeters of mercury, but LiveScience said that one-third of adults in the U.S. have hypertension, or high blood pressure.
Blood sugar level: If you have frequent high glucose levels, it increases the chances of developing diabetes, which adds to the risk of cardiovascular issues. A healthy blood sugar reading, or fasting blood sugar level, is 100 milligrams per deciliter or less after not eating for eight hours.
Cholesterol: LDL cholesterol is bad, while HDL cholesterol is good. LDL levels should be less than 100 milligrams per deciliter, while total cholesterol should be less than 200 mg/dL. If cholesterol levels go above these numbers, it increases the risk for further illnesses to develop.
Waist circumference: Knowing your waist measurement, taken across your belly button, tells you how much belly fat you have. This is important to know because a lot of fat in this area is a risk factor for Type 2 diabetes as well as heart disease. For women, this number should be less than 35 inches and less than 40 inches for men.
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