The Importance of Knowing Your Numbers

Q&A with Dr. Elizabeth Bentley

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Blood Pressure

What is blood pressure?

In the body, the arteries carry blood away from the heart. As blood travels through the arteries, it presses against the walls of the arteries. Blood pressure measures how hard the blood is pushing against the walls of the arteries.

Why should I work to keep blood pressure within the normal range?

High blood pressure pushes your heart to work harder and puts you at risk for heart disease, stroke, kidney failure and heart failure.

What is healthy blood pressure?

Less than 120/80 mm Hg

What are the recommendations to achieve healthy blood pressure numbers?

  • Limit Sodium to less than 2000 mg daily (about a half teaspoon)
  • Follow a heart healthy diet such as Mediterranean Diet (rich in veggies, lean proteins, healthy fats, minimal processed foods)
  • Exercise for 30 minutes daily
  • Limit alcohol to 1 drink daily

Cholesterol

What is cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a type of fat found in your blood. The liver makes cholesterol for your body. You also can get cholesterol from the foods you eat.

What is LDL and HDL cholesterol?

LDL cholesterol is often called the “bad” cholesterol because it collects in the walls of your blood vessels, raising your chances of health problems like a heart attack or stroke.

HDL cholesterol is sometimes called “good cholesterol.” This type moves through the bloodstream and removes harmful bad cholesterol. High HDL levels reduce the risk for heart disease, but low levels increase the risk.

High LDL (bad) cholesterol and low HDL (good) cholesterol may contribute to fatty plaques in your arteries which can lead to heart attack, heart disease and stroke.

What are healthy levels of LDL and HDL cholesterol?

LDL cholesterol less than 130 mg/dL, HDL cholesterol greater than 40 mg/dL

What are some recommendations to achieve healthy cholesterol numbers?

  • Follow a heart healthy diet such as Mediterranean Diet (rich in veggies, lean proteins, healthy fats, minimal processed foods)
  • Exercise for 30 minutes daily

Glucose

What is Blood Glucose?

Glucose is a type of sugar your body receives from foods you eat, and your body uses it for energy. As it travels through your bloodstream to cells, it’s called blood glucose or blood sugar.

What does "High Glucose Levels" mean?

High blood sugar is a sign your body cannot make or properly use insulin which is the hormone that gets glucose into the cells of your body. This high circulating blood sugar can damage blood vessels, nerves, kidneys and eyes. Early detection of high blood sugar can allow you to take steps to prevent or delay diabetes.

What are healthy glucose numbers?

Fasting blood glucose of less than 100 mg/dL and an A1C below 5.7%

What are recommendations to achieve healthy glucose numbers?

  • Follow a heart healthy diet such as Mediterranean Diet (rich in veggies, lean proteins, healthy fats, minimal processed foods)
  • Exercise for 30 minutes daily
  • Smart lifestyle choices are the cornerstone of health and will enable you to achieve and maintain your ideal numbers. I recommend you visit your primary care provider at least once a year to get your numbers checked in order to be in the best health possible.

Elizabeth Bentley, DO - Family MedicineDr. Elizabeth Bentley received her Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine at West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine in Lewisburg, West Virginia. She completed her residency in Family Medicine at Holzer Health System, Holzer Jenkins Memorial Clinic in Wellston, Ohio. Dr. Bentley sees primary care patients and is currently accepting new patients at Holzer Jenkins Memorial Clinic located at 140 Jenkins Memorial Road, Wellston, Ohio. Call 740-384-2167 to schedule an appointment.

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