Heart disease is killing more Americans than ever before, often with no warning. For many people, sudden death is the first symptom.2 But there’s good news.
Simple lifestyle changes can help prevent heart disease. While some risk factors — such as age, gender and heredity — can’t be changed, we can change those related to the way we live and the choices we make every day.
Know your numbers
You can learn a lot about your heart with a few simple numbers. When you know what numbers indicate a strong, healthy heart, you can set goals that reduce your risk for heart disease and stroke. The chart below shows which numbers are important and what goals you need to reach to keep your heart healthy and strong.
|Important numbers for a healthy heart||Goal|
|Total Cholesterol||Less than 200 mg/dL|
|LDL (“Bad”) Cholesterol||Less than 100 mg/dL|
|HDL (“Good”) Cholesterol|
50 mg/dL or higher
40 mg/dL or higher
|Triglycerides||Less than 150 mg/dL|
|Blood Pressure||Less than 120/80 mmHg|
|Fasting Glucose||Less than 100 mg/dL|
|Body Mass Index (BMI)||Less than 25|
35 inches or less
40 inches or less
|Physical Activity||At least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity at least 5 days per week|
At least 20 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity at least 3 days per week
Strength training activity at least 2 days per week
1Go, A. S., et al. AHA statistical update: Heart disease and stroke statistics—2013 update: A report from the American Heart Association, Circulation [article online]. December 12, 2012; 127: e6-e245. Available at http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/127/1/e6. Accessed July 9, 2013.
2Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Heart disease facts.
Available at www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/facts.htm. Accessed July 9, 2013.