Knowing Your Numbers for Heart Health

May 29, 2019 - 3:48 pm

Our daily lives are increasingly a numbers game – PIN numbers, phone numbers, the calorie counts in our favorite foods – the list of number sequences stored in our brains gets longer all the time.

But the numbers most vital to your long term health and wellbeing might be missing from your numerical inventory. Can you rattle off your cholesterol readings from your last blood test – and do you understand where they should be for your optimal health? How about your BMI? And here’s a real stumper – what’s your triglyceride level?

These and other numbers your doctor will report to you during your physical exam shouldn’t just stay in your file. They offer crucial clues to your overall health, and especially, your risk for heart attack and stroke. They’re numbers to act on – to improve, to maintain.

The good news is that unlike family history, ethnicity and gender, your health numbers can be changed if they’re off kilter. You can get them in line -- or keep them in line -- with choices you make everyday.

Cardiologist  Dr. Alan Ghaly of Deborah Specialty Physicians says the first thing he’ll discuss with a patient whose numbers put them at risk for heart disease is lifestyle: “What’s their diet consist of?  Are they active and exercising – not just aerobic but muscle-strengthening,” he says. “Regardless of what I can tell them about what new drug or medication or treatment is out there, healthy lifestyle has really been shown to be beneficial.”

Sometimes people can keep blood pressure in a healthy range simply by making lifestyle changes, such as losing weight, increasing activity and eating more healthfully. Others will need to add medications to their lifestyle modifications. A wide variety of medications are available for treating high blood pressure — and several are often used together to achieve results. For some people, even with lifestyle changes and medications, it may be difficult to control high blood pressure. Recently, however, new technologies have been developed that seek to decrease the over-activity of the sympathetic nervous system to lower blood pressure. To learn more visit  www.DeborahBP.org.

Other useful numbers to remember: there are now 7 Deborah Specialty Physician practices in 3 New Jersey counties: Atlantic County (Galloway), Burlington County (Burlington, Browns Mills, Mt. Laurel) and Ocean County (Manahawkin, Toms River, Whiting.) Deborah’s exceptional cardiac care is available at all of these locations if the summer months take you to the Jersey Shore as well as year-round. (www.DeborahSpecialists.com)

Deborah Specialty Physicians is a private physicians practice. The name “Deborah” is a registered trademark of Deborah Heart and Lung Center and is used under license granted by Deborah. All Rights Reserved.