A healthy living blog from Marshfield Clinic Health System

Five health numbers you should know

Go beyond the obvious things you should know about your health, like calories you eat or exercise you get, to knowing five lesser-known barometers of wellness.

According to Dr. Jaren Thomas, a Marshfield Clinic internal medicine specialist, they are:

Numbers to know for a healthier you

1. Blood pressure:

Should be equal to or less than 140/90 (goal) or 120/80 (ideal). High blood pressure greatly increases risk for stroke, heart disease or kidney failure.

2. Total cholesterol:

Should be below 200 mg/dL. Too much of these fats in your blood can build up, blocking blood flow and putting you at risk for stroke and heart disease.

3. Fasting blood sugar:

Should be less than 100 mg/dL. This screens for diabetes, a chronic disease that impedes vessels supplying blood to important organs like your heart, kidneys, eyes and nerves.

4. Body mass index (BMI):

Should be less than 25 (overweight) or less than 30 (obese). The BMI formula can help show if you are at risk for many health issues. If it’s under 18.5, it might indicate an eating disorder.

5. Waist size:

Should be less than 35 inches (women) or 40 inches (men). The circumference around your belly can indicate too much fat, putting you at high risk for many chronic diseases.

You can’t see an artery being narrowed by fat or weakened by rising sugar levels. Knowing these numbers can help you and your doctor take action to help prevent chronic diseases from developing. Talk to your doctor about your five numbers.

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