Open Accessibility Menu

Know Your Numbers

It’s no secret that heart disease is killing us. Every year, 800,000 men and women die of cardiovascular disease. Every 40 seconds, someone dies of heart disease, stroke, or heart failure. Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of adults in the U.S., more than any other illness.

Heart disease is an American Tragedy: Today, 90 million Americans live with cardiovascular disease, and millions more are affected by watching their mother, father, brother, sister, friend or co-worker struggle with the disease.

There is something you can do to avoid the tragedy, and it’s pretty simple. Know the six numbers that help your heart stay healthy … and work to achieve those numbers. Click on the drop down boxes below to learn more about these six numbers and how they impact your heart health.

So ... what's your number?

King’s Daughters offers an easy, affordable and convenient way to know your numbers, and monitor them over time: The Low-Cost Blood Profile screening. The LCBP includes comprehensive blood chemistry panel (including fasting blood sugar and complete blood count); lipid panel (cholesterol, LDL, HDL, and triglycerides); and thyroid stimulating hormone levels. The cost for the entire battery of tests is just $25. For an additional $5, you can receive the A1C test.

We offer the Low-Cost Blood Profile from 8 to 10 a.m. every Friday at our Center for Advanced Imaging, 2225 Central Ave., Ashland. Additional screenings are scheduled at our other locations throughout the region. Find a Low-Cost Blood Profile screening near you on our Events Calendar.

The six numbers you should know about your heart

#1 - Tobacco Use

The number to know here is ZERO. There is no level of tobacco use (including vaping and eCigarettes) that is safe. Smoking is the single largest, most-preventable cause of heart disease in the U.S. Tobacco smoke contains high levels of carbon monoxide, which affects the heart by reducing the amount of oxygen the blood is able to carry. At the same time, the nicotine found in tobacco (and vaping liquids) causes an increase in heart rate and blood pressure.

If you use tobacco/nicotine of any kind, quit. If you fail, try again. And keep trying until you succeed. Ask for help from your doctor. Or call King’s Daughters Tobacco Cessation program at (606) 408-6400 for group and individual support.

#2 - Blood Pressure

Thirty-four percent of Americans have high blood pressure; half of them don’t know it. Hypertension causes heart attack, stroke, heart failure, kidney disease, blindness, aneurysm and death. High blood pressure usually has no symptoms, so it’s important to have your blood pressure checked regularly, especially if you are hypertensive or have an elevated blood pressure. For most people, the recommended blood pressure numbers are 120/80.

#3 - Cholesterol

Cholesterol is a waxy substance naturally made by the body and contained in some of the foods we eat. There are two components to cholesterol: low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL). LDL is considered the bad cholesterol, because it tends to cling to the inside walls of arteries, causing the arteries to narrow and sometimes causing blockages. HDL is the “good” cholesterol. It actually helps to remove LDL from the blood stream. Numbers to know: total cholesterol - 200 or less; LDL - less than 60; HDL - 50 or more.

#4 - Blood Sugar

Those with diabetes are at significantly increased risk for heart disease, vascular disease, stroke and many other serious health problems. Limiting carbohydrate intake, especially in the form of sugary, non-nutritive foods like soft drinks, baked goods, and candy, can help bring down blood sugar levels. The number to know here is a fasting blood sugar level that’s less than 100. If you have diabetes, the recommendation is slightly different, but the goal is to keep blood sugar levels under steady control.

Another number to consider when it comes to blood sugar is the A1C. This is a measure of blood sugar levels over time. An A1C of 5.7 or less is considered normal; 5.7 to 6.4 is considered prediabetic; 6.5 and greater is considered diabetic.

#5 - Body Mass Index (BMI)

This is simply a measure of body fat based on one’s height and weight. A normal BMI is anywhere between 18.5 and 24.9. BMI charts and calculators are available online. There are also apps for iPhone and Android operating systems that can be downloaded.

#6 - Exercise!

Most experts recommend getting 30 minutes of exercise a day, most days of the week, or about 150 minutes every week. You don’t have to get all 30 minutes at one time. Three 10-minute walks are beneficial, too. Just remember, every hour you walk increases your life expectancy by two hours!