Wes J. Holiday, DO
Heart and Vascular

Don’t Break Hearts: Know Your Numbers with Dr. Holiday

Feb 10 2023

Roses are red. Violets are blue. February isn’t only for Valentine’s Day: it’s Heart Health Month, too!

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), cardiovascular disease, including heart disease and stroke, remains the leading cause of death around the world, causing more than 17.6 million deaths each year.

“Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States, but it is often preventable,” Wes J. Holiday, DO, a board-certified interventional cardiologist in our Lorain market, shares. “It is important to take action to prioritize your health and understand the symptoms of poor heart health.”

Dr. Holiday adds, “knowing your numbers is a great first step to proactively keep your heart healthy. By regularly checking your numbers and knowing your family history, you can know whether your heart is at an increased risk for heart disease.”

You may wonder, what heart numbers do I need to know exactly?

Dr. Holiday breaks down what you need to know to help keep your heart healthy.

Blood pressure

For starters, keep tabs on your blood pressure. Blood pressure is tracked by the force of blood against your arteries when your heart is beating or at rest. Ideally, your numbers should be less than 130/80 mm Hg to avoid hypertension, also known as high blood pressure.

Tracking your blood pressure can indicate whether you are at risk for heart health issues and cardiovascular diseases, such as strokes, heart attacks or even heart failure.

Cholesterol levels

Secondly, you should be mindful of your cholesterol levels.LDL (bad cholesterol), HDL (good cholesterol) and triglyceride (fat) levels are the three types to know. The higher your LDL and Triglyceride levels are, the more likely you are to be at risk for a heart attack or stroke. These numbers indicate the possibility of your artery walls narrowing due to fatty buildup. However, healthy HDL levels, or the ‘good’ cholesterol, may protect against stroke and heart attacks.

To know these numbers, your primary care provider will order a blood test to measure the amount of each type of cholesterol in your blood.

Blood sugar and body mass index

Your blood sugar and body mass index (BMI) are two additional metrics you should know. Blood sugar is the amount of sugar in the blood. Too much glucose in your blood can cause pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes, which are conditions that can lead to heart disease.

Your BMI is dependent on your age, weight, sex and height. That’s why it’s important to get your annual health screening. Failing to manage your BMI can lead to an increased risk of obesity, which can, in turn, lead to an increased risk of heart disease or other cardiovascular issues.

“If you are concerned about your heart health or are unsure of your numbers, schedule an appointment with your primary care provider to discuss your risk,” Dr. Holiday shares. “Knowing your numbers is a crucial step toward maintaining a healthy heart and preventing cardiovascular disease.”

Learn about the heart and vascular services we provide at Mercy Health.

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