You Have Brains in your Head

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Many of you may be familiar with the celebrated and irrefutable Dr. Seuss who wrote  witty limericks that are repeated world wide, but here is one you may not know as well by yours truly:

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can make choices any way you choose.
Cardiac rehab taught all you need to know.
You are the one to decide now how life will go.

You have an old heart in your chest.
You have coronary arteries.
that need angioplasty surgeries.
You have gooey cholesterol plaque.
Take care to avoid a heart attack.

With “brains in our head”, it should be easy to remember how to live heart-healthy.  Yet I struggle to remember all the details and numbers involved in my daily living in my heart-healthy lifestyle.  (Cardiac Rehab made it all seem so simple!)  And “with feet in our shoes”, it should be equally simple to recognize how important exercise is in our daily lives to keep our weight at an acceptable level.  Taking care of our heart entails eating healthy, being active and taking our medications.  Eliminating or reducing stress and not smoking are additional parameters to take charge of.

We know that heart disease is the number one killer of Americans.  It is up to us to change this alarming statistic.  We can take charge by following the guidelines of the American Heart Associations “Know Your Numbers” campaign.  These numbers include health parameters like blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference.  I have found myself constantly searching for these values.  Let this blog serve as a guideline for you.  It is my personal “ten commandments” to stay on track.  If you would like to print off the AHA Numbers that Count for a Healthy Heart, from which these numbers are taken, you will find the link at:

http://www.heart.org/idc/groups/heart-public/@wcm/@hcm/documents/downloadable/ucm_322935.pdf

I want YOU to take care of YOUR heart!

Numbers That Count for a healthy heart

Risk Factors Goal Your Number
Total Cholesterol Less than 200mg/dl
LDL “Bad” Cholesterol Individuals at risk for heart disease: Low Risk (<160 mg/dl)Intermediate Risk (<130 mg/dl)High Risk (<100 mg/dl)(includes individuals with heart disease or diabetes) Very High Risk (<70 mg/dl) 
HDL “Good” Cholesterol Women (50 mg/dl or higher)Men (40 mg/dl or higher)
Triglycerides Less than 150 mg/dl
Blood Pressure Less than 120/80 mmHg
Diabetes (Fasting Glucose) Less than 120mg/dl Fasting Blood Glucose (normal is 80 to 100 mg/dl) Less than 160 mg/dl Post-meal Blood Glucose
Body Mass Index (BMI) Less than 25 kg/m2
Waist Circumference Women (35 inches or less)Men (40 inches or less)
Physical Activity At least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity at least 5 days per week for a total of 150 minutes.ANDModerate to high intensity muscle-strengthening activity at least 2 or more days per week for additional health benefits.
Tobacco Eliminate all tobacco products and exposure to secondhand smoke
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