Know Your Numbers

Blood pressure is a measure of force on your blood vessels. Hypertension occurs when your blood pressure is too high. It's hard to tell if you have hypertension because there are no obvious symptoms. Likewise, cholesterol circulates in your blood. As cholesterol levels rise, so does the risk to your health. And while your body needs cholesterol to build cells... too much can cause serious harm.

That's why it's important to have your cholesterol and blood pressure tested regularly. Get to know your numbers. You can greatly reduce your risk of heart disease by hitting your recommended goals. And most important learn how to work with your doctor to reduce your risk factors.

Recommended Goals:

Blood Pressure less than 120/80 mm/Hg
Total Cholesterol less than 180 mg/dL
Body Mass Index less than 25kg/m2
Fasting Blood Sugar less than 100 mg/dL

Why it's important to keep your numbers under control

High blood pressure can cause many health issues, including heart attack, stroke, kidney damage and other blood vessel-related health problems. High cholesterol may cause serious heart disease to develop. It's important to have your cholesterol levels monitored because, in most cases, high cholesterol doesn't have any symptoms.

How can you reduce your risk of heart disease?

There are a number of risk factors for developing heart disease. Some of the risks can be decreased by making lifestyle changes and others may be due to family history. Talk to your doctor about any questions you have about your risk for heart disease. If you are thinking about starting a new exercise program, talk to your doctor about your plan to be sure it is the best plan for YOUR health.

  • Keep your blood pressure and cholesterol under control
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Eat a heart-healthy diet
  • Avoid tobacco use
  • See your doctor regularly
  • Take your medications as directed

What can you do if you have high blood pressure?

Ask your doctor to set blood pressure, cholesterol, and lipid level goals based on your risk factors. Eat healthy meals low in saturated fat, trans-fats, sodium (salt) and added sugars. Keep moving. Aim for at least 40 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity at least three to five times per week. Avoid tobacco use and second hand smoke.

If you have questions and would like to speak with a care manager please call 1-800-860-2619 (TDD/TTY 1-800-421-1220). Our Member Care Management program has a team of health care professionals who can help answer your questions about this topic or any other health-related questions.

For additional information about heart health, go to the American Heart Association or The Center for Disease Control.

Source: American Heart Association

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