Improve Your Health – By The Numbers

Following is a message from Todd Mosenthal, DC, CAc, CIDN part of his ‘Improve Your Health’ series:

One way to know if you are on the road to health and happiness is to know some of your metabolic numbers. I asked the experts what those numbers were, and here are their answers:

Mehmet Oz, MD, Cardiology, –

Here are some of the important health numbers you should keep track of. First, grab a measuring tape and start with your waist size. Measure at your belly button. Ideally, your waist size should be less than half your height. For most men, that means less than 40 inches, and for most women, less than 37 inches.

Once you have a handle on your love handles, check your blood pressure. Of all the numbers you need to know, this one is the most important. If the systolic or first number is 140 or above or if you diastolic or second number is 90 or more, alert your doctor. The ideal blood pressure is approximately 115 over 75.

RealAge –

The most important numbers to watch are the big three – cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar – plus two more: homocysteine and C-reactive protein. Consider these numbers a stock ticker for a heart-healthy ticker. They tell you how you’re doing and when you need to do more. When you have them measured, make sure your doctor also tells you your goal levels and what you can do to get there. Getting more active, losing weight, and making smart food choices can help get your numbers in a healthy range.

Reader’s Digest –

Your LDLs and HDLs…..

It’s important to know not just your total cholesterol reading, but also your levels of ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol and ‘good’ HDLs. When you see your doctor for blood test results, ask for the readings for both forms of cholesterol and the radio of your total cholesterol to HDLs (TC:HDL). Aim for total cholesterol below 5.2 mmol/l (below 5 mmol/l if you have heart disease or diabetes), and LDL cholesterol levels below 3.5 mmol/l, or below 2 mmol/l if you have a history of heart disease. A healthy HDL level is 1.3 mmol/l or above.

and your triglycerides…..

Triglycerides are made from the fats and carbohydrates you eat, which are converted into a form that can be stored in fat cells. Triglycerides are also released from fat tissue when the body needs extra energy between meals. It’s normal to have some triglycerides in your bloodstream, but high levels are linked to coronary artery disease – especially in women. When you have high triglycerides paired with low HDLs, your risk of insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome may be increased. A normal triglyceride reading is less than 1.7 mmol/l. Your doctor will advise you how often you should have triglycerides checked.

and your morning pulse rate….

Your pulse is the number of times your heart beats in one minute. Regular monitoring of your resting pulse first thing in the morning will help you to see if your workouts are strengthening your heart. For example, a normal resting pulse rate is 60 to 90 beats per minute. People who are fit tend to have lower resting pulse rates because their heart muscles are in good shape. But if you don’t exercise regularly and your heart rate is lower than the normal range, tell your doctor – it could be a sign of heart disease.

  • How to check: You’ll need a clock or watch with a second hand. The pulse is best measured at the wrist or neck, where an artery runs close to the surface of the skin. To measure the pulse at your wrist, place your index and middle fingers on the underside of the opposite wrist. Press firmly with the flat of your fingers until you feel the pulse. Find a neck pulse either side of your Adam’s apple: just press your fingers into the hollows either side of your windpipe. Once you’ve found your pulse, count the beats for 15 seconds and multiply by 4 – this will give your pulse rate in beats per minute.
  • How often to check: Take your pulse once a month; in the morning before you get out of bed. To check if your exercise program is working, assess your maximum pulse just after exercise and note how long it takes to return to its normal resting rate – the time interval should reduce as you get fitter.

She Knows –

Fasting blood sugar level – 80 mg/dl to 100 mg/dl

What it is: A test that measures the amount of glucose in your blood after sleeping (or 8 hours of fasting).

Why it matters: A blood sugar or blood glucose test is a good indicator of how well your body processes sugar or glucose and whether or not you are at risk for diabetes. Any measurement over 100 mg/dl suggests that you have pre-diabetes, a condition when your blood sugar level is higher than normal but not high enough to be diagnosed with the diabetes. The good news? Research shows that being aware of pre-diabetes can help you take steps to delay its progression. A blood sugar level of 126 mg/dl or higher is consistent with either Type 1 or 2 diabetes and requires treatment immediately. (Diet and exercise can reverse Type 2 diabetes.)