How Healthy Are You?
by Marcia Simon, APR
Blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose, BMI. Do you know your numbers? You should. Are you an apple or a pear? These are key indicators of overall health and wellness.
Knowing your personal risk factors lets you know how much you can cheat on your diet. Seriously, will it affect your health if you’re heavy-handed with the salt shaker? Butter your bread? Indulge on dessert? Or is it better to skip those things and get your numbers to a healthier level?
General recommendations include:
120/80 or lower
Fasting blood sugar
100 or lower
BMI (body mass index – the ratio of body fat to body weight)
25 or lower
Total cholesterol – under 200 = desirable; -239 = borderline; over 240 = high
HDL (good cholesterol) – 60 or higher
LDL (bad cholesterol) – 100 or lower = desirable; 100-129 = good; 130-159 = borderline; 160 or more = high
When it comes to cholesterol, LDL (low-density lipoprotein) is the main source of cholesterol buildup and blockage in the arteries. HDL (high-density lipoprotein) prevents cholesterol buildup and is often called “good cholesterol.”
Are you a pear or an apple?
A small waist and some extra junk in the trunk? No worries. You’re a pear – dance your ass off.
Big jelly belly? If you carry fat around your midsection it means the fat is surrounding, and likely affecting, your vital organs. You’re apple-shaped. It’s time to tackle this situation.
Other risk factors that affect overall physical health include your age, smoking, sedentary lifestyle and a family history of heart disease or diabetes.
Sources: American Heart Association, American Council on Exercise