Cardiac Care 101: Know Your Numbers
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 50% of people in the United States have at least one key risk factor for heart disease. At White Plains Hospital, our elite full-service Cardiology Program offers advanced options for diagnosing and treating heart disease. In addition, our team of experts strives to educate our patients on the importance of cardiac care.
There are a variety of ways to reduce your risk of heart disease, and the first is knowing your numbers. Four important numbers to know are your blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol and BMI.
A healthy blood pressure is <120/80. Check your blood pressure regularly as part of your personal cardiac care plan and be sure to report any changes or concerns to your doctor in order to act before a crisis arises. By keeping your blood pressure in the ideal range, you reduce strain on your heart.
If you’re trying to lower your blood pressure, consider taking the following measures:
- Exercise regularly
- Eat a healthy diet
- Reduce sodium in your diet
- Limit your alcohol intake
- Quit smoking
- Cut back on caffeine
- Reduce your stress
According to a study published by the American Diabetes Association, higher baseline morning glucose levels were associated with increased heart failure in a non-diabetic sample. This is because high glucose levels can damage vessels and nerves around your heart. Therefore, monitoring your blood sugar is another important component of complete cardiac care.
The normal range for fasting glucose is 70–99 mg/dl. If you’re looking to lower your blood sugar levels in order to increase your cardiac health, some of the measures you can take are the same as those used to lower your blood pressure, such as exercising regularly and reducing stress. In addition, consider some of the following tips:
- Monitor your carbohydrate intake
- Increase your fiber intake
- Drink water and stay hydrated
- Choose foods with a low glycemic index
- Get enough quality sleep
- Eat foods rick in chromium and magnesium
Not all cholesterol is bad. There are different types – low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL). A higher level of HDL is actually good because it can protect you against heart disease. The optimal range is HDL men > 40/women > 50. However, LDL levels should be <100; levels higher than the range contribute to plaque, which can clog arteries and lead to heart disease and stroke.
If you have high cholesterol, there are ways to reverse it and protect yourself from developing heart disease. For instance, consider making the following changes to your diet:
- Reduce saturated fats
- Eliminate trans fats
- Eat foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids
- Increase soluble fiber
- Add whey protein
The normal BMI range is 18.5-24.9. A BMI beyond that range is correlated with an increased risk of heart disease. However, according to the National Institute of Health (NIH), there are a couple of caveats to BMI:
1. It may overestimate body fat in athletes and others who have a muscular build.
2. It may underestimate body fat in older persons and others who have lost muscle.
Therefore, it is important that your physician monitors your BMI and weight and takes into account your lifestyle in addition to just the numbers.
Why White Plains Hospital For Cardiac Care?
White Plains Hospital offers exceptional cardiac care – both routine and emergency care.
Our expert cardiologists have access to the latest interventional and non-invasive diagnostic tools, rapid emergency treatment of heart attack patients, and two state-of-the-art cardiac catheterization labs. The Hospital is known throughout the region as a destination for top-quality and lifesaving cardiac care.
Meet Roger Zeital, Heart Attack Survivor, and learn how White Plains Hospital offered him the cardiac care he needed in a time of crisis.
To find a physician call 914-849-MYMD