When was the last time you took your blood pressure? Where do you fall?
Body Mass Index is a great way to predict whether you are at risk for heart disease. You calculate it by dividing your weight in kilograms by your height in meters. It's quick and easy. People who are extremely muscular- take that into account before you are too hard on yourself. At my leanest, 12% body fat, I fall in around 25-26. But, I am extremely healthy. Take it with a grain of salt.
Range for Adult Men and Women Kg/m*
Grade 1 Obesity 25-29.9
Grade 2 Obesity 30-40
Grade 3 (morbid) 40+
* - means squared
Risk Factors for Heart Disease:
Obesity: BMI - see above.
High Blood Pressure: See Above. Remember, each time you get your heart rate up by exercising, the more able your heart is to handle the rise when in a stressful situation.
Smoking: This increases your risk of CVD by 50-60%. It's an addiction, I know! But please! I smoked as a teenager and in my early 20's. Being a fitness/healthcare professional, well let's just say I have to look at myself in the mirror every day. If I am true to myself and my purpose in life, then smoking cannot be included. If I smoked, I would be telling you to do as I say, and not as I do. When you go on those calls and see the damage done to the people with COPD, I just know none of you actually smoke, right?
Genetics: Family history. I get this part- but who taught us how to eat?
Diabetes: Increases plaque in the blood vessels. It is my belief, after years of study that diabetes is on the rise, along with heart disease, because processed food causes a rise in blood sugar. Stay away from high sugar foods and processed carbohydrates- such as white flour. Eat any carbohydrate with some protein to keep the glycemic index of your food down. This will give your pancreas a break, and lesson your chances of developing DMII, and reduce your problems if you already have it.
High Cholesterol: High cholesterol is considered among the primary causes of heart disease. Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like compound that belongs to a class of molecules called "steriods." It's found in many foods, in the bloodstream, and in all body cells. Cholesterol produces deposits in the arteries, which impedes blood flow. A handful of cholesterol might feel like a soft melted candle.
However, Some Cholesterol is needed because it is used to form and maintain cell membranes and in the manufacturing of sex hormones. It is used in the production of bile salts, aiding in digestion. And, it converts Vitamin D (with the suns help) in the skin so that our bodies can absorb calcium from our food.
Total Cholesterol and Triglycerides are monitored and should not be above certain numbers: see below.
Good Cholesterol: High-Density Lipoproteins or "HDL" is the good cholesterol. HDLs carry unneeded cholesterol away from the cells and back to the liver where it can be broken down for removal from the body. Low levels of this cholesterol is associated with an increased risk of heart disease
Bad Cholesterol: Low density Lipoproteins or LDL are bad cholesterol. LDL is considered to be a major contributor to plaque buildup in the arteries and impeded blood flow to the heart and other areas. For every 1% drop in LDL, the risk of heart attack drops by 2%.
Total cholesterol should be 200mg/dl or below.
LDL should be less than 130 mg/dl
HDL should be greater than 45 mg/dl
Triglycerides should be less than 150 mg/dl
Ratios: Cholesterol to HDL no higher than 4:2
LDL to HDL no higher than 2:5
*This ratio indicates your Cardiac risk factor- they reflect whether cholesterol is being deposited into the tissues or broken down and excreted.)
These Cholesterol Numbers and the Average American:
The average daily cholesterol consumption of most Americans:
males - 360 mg/day
females - 240 mg/day
The American Heart Association recommends less than 300 mg/day!