Heart disease is the number one killer of women in United States, despite increases in awareness over the past decade, according the Center for Disease Control. The CDC also reports that only 54 percent of women recognize that heart disease is the leading cause of death.
In an effort to learn more about your own heart health, first know your family history. But second, The American Heart Association recommends knowing these five numbers that relate to cardiovascular health:
1 BMI body mass index
This number is a weight-to-height ratio, calculated by dividing one's weight in kilograms by the square of one's height in meters and used as an indicator of obesity and underweight. Here is a link to an easy BMI calculator.
2 Total cholesterol
Your total blood cholesterol is a measure of the cholesterol components LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol, HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol, and VLDL (very low-density lipoprotein, which is the triglyceride-carrying component of lipids).
3 HDL (good cholesterol)
HDL is the good cholesterol, which is present in the blood as high-density lipoprotein, a relatively high proportion of which is associated with a lower risk of coronary heart disease.
4 blood pressure
The pressure of the blood in the circulatory system, often measured for diagnosis since it is closely related to the force and rate of the heartbeat and the diameter and elasticity of the arterial walls.
5 blood sugar levels
Blood sugar, or glucose, is the main sugar found in your blood. It comes from the food you eat, and is your body's main source of energy. Your blood carries glucose to all of your body's cells to use for energy.
Knowing these numbers can lead to better conversations with your doctor, and can help identify if you need to make some lifestyle changes.