Dr. Rachel: The Five Numbers for a Long, Healthy Life
You know how old you are. That’s one number you know. If you want that number to keep increasing, then you need to know these other five numbers.
The 5th most important number to know is your blood pressure. Normal blood pressure is 120/80. High blood pressure is known as the silent killer. So, check your pressure.
The 4th number to know is your body mass index or BMI. Your BMI tells you if you are normal weight, overweight, obese, or morbidly obese. A normal BMI is less than 25. You can go on the internet to calculate your BMI.
The 3rd number is your fasting blood sugar. If your fasting blood sugar is higher than 100 then you are pre-diabetic and at risk for diabetes which can lead to many health problems.
The 2nd need-to-know number is your cholesterol–not so much your total cholesterol–but your HDL, or “good,” cholesterol and your LDL, or “bad,” cholesterol. HDL should be greater than 50 and LDL should be less than 100.
And, the most important number to know is your waist measurement around your belly button. If you put on weight around your hips, you are pear-shaped. If you put on weight around your middle, you are apple-shaped.
If you’re overweight and apple-shaped, you have a much higher risk of health problems than if you’re pear-shaped.
For women, health risks start when your waist is more than 35 inches. And for men, your risks increase with a waist over 40 inches.
If you can get these five numbers where they should be, your age number should get bigger and bigger.
High blood pressure
|Blood Pressure (BP)Category||Systolic (mmHg)Upper number||Diastolic (mmHg)Lower number|
|Normal||Less than 120||Less than 80|
|Pre-hypertension(start working on lower your BP)||120- 139||80- 89|
|High blood pressureStage 1||140-159||90-99|
|High blood pressureStage 2||160 or higher||100 or higher|
|High blood pressure CrisisGET TO AN EMERGENCY ROOM!!||180 or higher|
Fasting Blood sugar
|Category||Minimum value(mg/dl)||Maximum value(mg/dl)||2 hours after eating(mg/dl)|
|Normal||70||100||Less than 140|
Total Cholesterol (mg/dL)
|Desirable||Less than 200|
|Borderline High||200- 239|
|High Cholesterol||240 or higher|
LDL “The Bad” Cholesterol
|Ideal(if you are high risk for heart disease)||Less than 70|
|Ideal||Less than 100|
|Very high||Greater than 190|
HDL “The Good” Cholesterol
|Optimal||60 or higher|
|Ok||Men 40-49Women 50-59|
|Poor||Men less than 40Women less than 50|
|Optimal||Less than 100|
|Normal||Less than 150|
|Very high||Greater than 500|
Body Mass Index
|Normal weight||18.5- 24.9|
|Morbid “high risk” obesity||Over 40|
To measure your waist circumference, use a tape measure. Bring it all the way around your belly at the level of your belly button. Make sure it is not too tight.
A high-risk waist circumference is:
|Men||Over 40 inches|
|Women||Over 35 inches|
Apple shapes increase you risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancers, metabolic problems, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, sleep apnea, and premature death than pear shapes.