Three Numbers You Need to Know for a Healthy Heart!

February is American Heart Month. Cardiovascular disease remains the number one killer of people in the US - men and women. Someone dies of this disease every 35 seconds in the US. Knowing three numbers can change your life - and maybe save it. In today's Family Matters segment Providence Cardiologist, Dr. Ty Gluckman, told us what those numbers were and how we can get them where they need to be.

A person's cardiac risk can be summed up by knowing three sets of numbers - blood pressure, cholesterol and waist size.

1. Normal blood pressure is below 120/80

2.  A good cholesterol number to strive for is a total of 200 mg/dL.

3. Waist size is the third number to know when it comes to assessing one's heart health - 35 inches or less for a woman and 40 inches or less for a man is what we should be shooting for.

Changing your lifestyle is the best way to protect yourself from the disease:

* Don't smoke - Cigarette smoking is the greatest preventable cause of death. Those who smoke nearly double their risk of a heart attack.
* Keep your blood pressure and cholesterol in check. Buildup of fatty deposits clog arteries and block blood flow.
* Eat a nutritious, low-fat, low-salt diet and keep a healthy weight - Extra pounds place extra stress on the heart, and losing weight can benefit your heart and help lower blood cholesterol.
* Be active. Physical inactivity contributes to other risk factors, such as being overweight and high blood pressure.
* If you have diabetes, control your blood glucose level throughout the day to avoid big drops and peaks.
* Know your family history. If your brother, father or grandfather had a heart attack before age 55, or your sister, mother or grandmother had one before age 65, you may be at risk, too. If you've already had a heart attack, you're at higher risk of having a second one.
* Be aware of signs and symptoms, and call 9-1-1 and get to a hospital right away if experiencing chest discomfort or any other signs.

For more information head to the Family Matters section by clicking here.

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