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Know These Numbers to Protect Your Heart

Know These Numbers to Protect Your Heart

By Nicole Nichols, Health Educator
Don't wait for a diagnosis of heart disease to start thinking about the health of your heart. There are plenty of ways you can be proactive now to help prevent cardiovascular disease from ever occurring. By knowing your numbers, you can better assess your risk for heart disease—and protect your ticker before it's too late! Here are a few of the numbers that everyone should aim for to keep their hearts in optimal health.
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25: Body Mass Index

Body Mass Index (BMI) is a quick way to calculate whether your weight is healthy for your height. A BMI over 25 is considered overweight, and a BMI above 30 is classified as obese. Both categories increase your risk of heart disease and heart attack—even if you have no other risk factors. Being overweight increases your blood LDL (bad) cholesterol and triglyceride levels, lowers HDL (good) cholesterol, and exacerbates other heart disease risks like diabetes and high blood pressure. Plus, carrying excess weight simply puts additional strain on the heart, forcing it to work harder. Losing just 10% of your body weight (if you are overweight) can improve your heart health.

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