In recognition of National Heart Health Month, Amedisys, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMED) urges Americans to know their heart health numbers and offers downloadable tools on its website that includes
questions to ask your doctor about your blood pressure
with heart healthy tips; and a
discussing the link between women and cardiovascular disease.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
, heart disease is the leading cause of death among men and women in America. In fact, cardiovascular conditions are one of the most common reasons Amedisys patients require home health care. Experts agree that people interested in reducing their risk for cardiovascular disease can do so by first understanding their heart health numbers. The three key numbers you need to know are blood pressure, cholesterol levels and waist size.
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, while the diastolic pressure measures the same pressure between heartbeats, when the heart is relaxed and fills with blood.
- Normal blood pressure is below 120/80
- Pre-hypertension is 120 to 139 (systolic) and/or 80 to 89 (diastolic)
- Hypertension – also known as high blood pressure -- is 140 or higher (systolic) and 90 or higher (diastolic) on three or more separate recordings.
The three different cholesterol numbers that are important to know are HDL, LDL, and triglycerides. These numbers combine to give a "lipid profile" score, but the three individual scores are most important.
- Total cholesterol of 200 mg/dL or lower
- HDL ("good" cholesterol) of 50 mg/dL or higher, for women, or 40 mg/dL or higher, for men
- Optimal LDL is 100 or lower
- Triglycerides of less than 150 mg/dL
Waist size is also an important number to know because it can predict heart disease risk. If your waist size is equal to or more than 35 inches in women and equal to or more than 40 inches in men, it increases your risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, metabolic problems, high blood pressure and abnormal cholesterol.