During the pandemic, we have seen people skip routine preventative healthcare appointments. The problem? So many health problems are not being caught on time and treated in a timely manner. Knowing your numbers (the lab test data you receive after blood work and being seen by your MD) can be life saving! (One of our very own employees… her husband PSA was checked during our spring health screening. His PSA was elevated, went to the doctor and was diagnosed with prostate cancer. He started and ended his treatments this summer. Early detection saves!).
Knowing your numbers is an important part of keeping you healthy. It can help you and your doctor know your risks and mark the progress you’re making toward a healthier you. To get a quick overview of numbers, look below.
(Check out this link here for preventative screening suggestions by age: https://www.columbianps.org/healthy-life-blog/guide-to-annual-health-screenings-by-age/)
Optimal—120/80 or lower
Prehypertension—120-139/80-89, (note: higher number equals more “pressure”)
High—140/90 or greater
Hypertension is the same thing as high blood pressure; you have it if your blood pressure is 140/90 or higher. If you have high blood pressure, you are at greater risk for developing heart disease and stroke.
If you get a higher than normal number for the first time, rest and relax a few minutes and take your blood pressure again. Sometimes the stress alone of being at the doc can make your heart work overtime.
Glucose test: 100 mg/dL – diabetes marker and measure of insulin functioning, over 126 is type two diabetes
Total cholesterol: <200mg/dL – measure your combined LDL & HDL
LDL cholesterol: <100 mg/dL is optimal – your “bad” cholesterol
HDL cholesterol: >40-59 mg/dL (>60 considered protective against heart disease) – your “good” cholesterol
Triglyceride: <150 mg/dL – measures a different kind of fat in the blood
Cholesterol ratio: Divide HDL cholesterol into your total cholesterol. So, if your total cholesterol is 200mg/dL and your HDL cholesterol is 50 mg/dL, your cholesterol ratio is 4-to-1. According to the American Heart Association, the goal is to keep your cholesterol ratio under 5-to-1. The optimal ratio is 3.5-to-1. A higher ratio indicates a higher risk of heart disease; a lower ratio indicates a lower risk.
HbA1c/Glycosylated hemoglobin: normal <5.7%, pre diabetes 5.7-6.4%, 6.5% or higher means diabetes. This test measures your blood sugar over several weeks or months. If you have diabetes, your doctor will tell you how often you need a blood test to measure your levels. Ask for this test if you have a family history of diabetes.
Questions after your screening? Email me!
Kelly Devine Rickert, MS, RDN, CSSD, LDN
Moraine Valley Community College Wellness Coordinator