What are Your Health Numbers in the New Year? Prevention is Always Better than Cure!
By Deepkamal Kaur, MD, Bronson Internal Medicine - Fremont St.
Dr. Deepkamal Kaur, cares for adult patients at Bronson Internal Medicine - Fremont St. in Battle Creek., and is passionate about medicine and patient care. She offers comprehensive healthcare including preventative care, annual physicals and treatment for chronic health conditions. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Kaur, call (269) 245-8393.
As we head into the new year, it’s a good time to find out some basic health numbers that are often the first warning signs of potential health problems. By knowing your numbers, a doctor can determine whether you are at risk for diabetes, heart disease and other chronic conditions. The assessment can then be used as a guide to help shape your health goals for 2020.
Here are some of the numbers that are important for you to know:
Blood pressure consists of two numbers. Your systolic pressure measures the pressure of blood against artery walls when the heart pumps blood out during a heartbeat. The diastolic pressure measures the same pressure between heartbeats, when the heart fills with blood.
High blood pressures often don’t produce any symptoms until too high. If you are above 65, your blood pressure goals don’t have to be as strict!
Cholesterol isn't all bad—it’s a type of fat that's actually a nutrient. But as you've probably heard, there's "good" cholesterol (HDL), "bad" cholesterol (LDL) and the “ugly” cholesterol (triglycerides). When we measure cholesterol and blood fats, we're really talking about three different numbers: HDL, LDL, and triglycerides. They combine to give you a "lipid profile" score, but the three individual scores are most important. Adults 18 and older should get a lipid profile at least once every three years.
Why are high blood sugar levels bad for you? Glucose is precious fuel for all the cells in your body—when it's present at normal levels. But persistently high sugar levels behave like a slow-acting poison.
Testing your fasting blood sugar measures your risk for diabetes. Diabetes is a chronic disease that can lead to blindness, cardiac disease, kidney failure, nerve problems and an impaired immune system. Type 2 Diabetes, when your body produces insulin but can't use it as effectively, is more prevalent in patients with BMI above 30. During the day, blood glucose levels tend to be at their lowest just before meals. High blood sugars cause inflammation in blood vessels. That’s why diabetes is a multi-system disease as blood vessels are everywhere!
Body Mass Index (BMI)
BMI is a measurement of your height and weight. It is used to determine if you are at a healthy weight for your height. Being overweight is a risk factor because it is often related to high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes. The best way to maintain a healthy weight is to eat healthy food in appropriate quantities and get regular exercise.
No matter what your numbers, the most important thing to know is that they can all be helped by healthy lifestyle choices. Even small changes in your physical activity, your nutrition and your smoking habits can have a major impact on your health. So resolve to know your numbers in the new year, and make a plan to make healthy choices in 2020.