There are many numbers everyone should know to help gauge their health. Here are 7 important numbers everyone should know. They are easily measured at home or in your doctors office. Some are simple blood tests. Remember that knowledge is power. If your numbers are less than optimum, start making changes to improve them and your overall health.
1. C – reactive protein (CRP) – This is a very important number everyone should have measured. It may be more important that your cholesterol number. This number is a measure of your inflammation level. Inflammation has been linked to an increased risk of heart attacks, stroke, and possibly even cancer. An optimal CRP level is less than 1.0. CRP is a simple blood test.
2. Total LDL particle number (LDL-p) – This is a better measurement of your bad cholesterol levels than LDL. LDL alone is a concentration level of the bad cholesterol and may misrepresent your risk of heart attack or stroke. LDL-p measures the total number of bad cholesterol particles. A large number of small and dense LDL particles contributes to atherosclerosis and heart disease. A high LDL-p along with a high CRP is especially dangerous. LDL-p is also a simple blood test. An LDL-p level below 1000 is optimal.
3. Glucose – This simple blood test measures the glucose or sugar in your blood. A high blood glucose level may mean that your are a diabetic. High blood sugar levels lead to an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, eye damage, and nerve damage. A normal glucose level is less than 100. A glucose level between 100-124 is considered pre-diabetes. A glucose level of 125 and above means you are a diabetic.
4. Creatinine – This blood test checks your kidney function. A high creatinine level may represent kidney failure. Kidney failure puts you at increased risk of heart attacks and stroke.
5. Blood pressure – A normal blood pressure is 120/80 or less. A high blood pressure can lead to damage in the lining of your arteries and then to atherosclerosis. This can then lead to a heart attack or stroke. High blood pressure at any age is abnormal and should be treated.
6. Body Mass Index (BMI) – This number relates your weight to your height. It will help you decide if you are overweight. A normal BMI is less than 25. A BMI between 25 and 30 is considered overweight. A BMI above 30 is considered obese. A BMI greater than 40 is considered morbidly obese.
7. Waist circumference – The size of your belly is actually a better predictor of heart disease than general obesity. People with central obesity tend to develop higher blood pressure, regardless of body mass index (BMI) than those who store fat in other areas of the body. A normal waist circumference in men is less than 40 inches and less than 35 inches in females.