These days there are lots of numbers women have to think about, such as telephone numbers, addresses, our social security number, bank accounts, and it goes on and on. These numbers may make it possible to navigate our complicated world, but as women there are four numbers we don’t think about often, but we should all take to heart.
Right now, one in four women will die of heart disease, but you have the power to change that by knowing four simple numbers: your blood pressure, blood glucose and cholesterol levels, BMI and family history risks. These numbers assess your risk for heart disease, and once you know that, you can take action to address them so you don’t become a statistic.
High blood pressure raises your risk of a heart attack or stroke, and you may not even be aware that you have it. The truth is, a third of all women do or are currently take medication to lower it. If you have high blood pressure, also called hypertension, you may be able to lower it by making smart food choices and exercising more. Some small steps can make a big difference to put you on a path to feeling better and lowering your numbers.
Knowing your blood glucose and cholesterol numbers are important too. Blood glucose tests determine if you have or are at risk for diabetes. Many people aren’t aware they have type 2 diabetes—the most common form of the disease— because many of its symptoms seem harmless.
Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body doesn’t properly use insulin, which is sometimes called insulin resistance. Luckily there are ways to prevent type 2 diabetes or delay the onset.
So you are probably thinking, "What does this have to do with my heart?" People with diabetes are twice as likely to have a heart attack or stroke as those without it. In fact, heart disease is the leading cause of death for people with diabetes. Fortunately, by eating a healthy diet low in fat and sugar and staying active, you can control, delay, or even prevent diabetes.
When you have high blood cholesterol levels that’s a red flag that you are at risk for heart disease and unfortunately, half of all women have borderline-high total cholesterol levels.