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    by Ngozi Osuagwu, MD | September 6th, 2015


    No, I am not asking about your cell number or your work number. I am asking about your numbers – your weight, body mass index (BMI), waist measurement, blood pressure, hemoglobin A1C and your cholesterol. I am not asking you to memorize your numbers, but you should know what they are and record it somewhere so that you can track it.

    Here is what we do know:

    1 in 5 adults with high blood pressure do not know they have high blood pressure. If you do not know you have high blood pressure or if you have high blood pressure and your blood pressure is not normal, it really does not matter how many medications you are on, you will get all the complications that occur by having your blood pressure not controlled.

    25 percent of people with diabetes do not know they have diabetes. 9 out of 10 people with prediabetes do not know they have prediabetes.  When you are walking around with a disease you do not know you have, you have missed out on an opportunity to be proactive in managing the disease. You have missed out on the opportunity to make changes that may prevent complications from happening. Diabetes is the leading cause of preventable blindness.

    Knowing your height and weight, allows you to calculate your body mass index. We know that a body mass index greater than 30 defines obesity. Obesity is the second leading cause of preventable illness. Number one cause of preventable disease is smoking tobacco.

    The good news is that there are many people who work for companies where blood is drawn to obtain these numbers at no cost to the employee. Take advantage of these programs. Some will even offer testing to spouses.

    Pay attention to the numbers. It is not enough to hear that your numbers are normal. Look at the actual numbers. Understand what is normal. If you do not understand what the numbers mean or your numbers are abnormal, talk to your doctor.

    Weight Need to know to calculate your BMI
    BMI Below 18.5 Underweight

    18.5 – 24.9 Normal

    25.0 – 29.9 Overweight

    30.0 and over  Obese

    Waist Over 35 inches for women and over 40 inches for men is increases risk for weight related health issues
    Blood pressure Younger than 60 years old- greater than 140/90 is high blood pressure

    Older than 60 years old – greater than 150/90 is high blood pressure

    Hemoglobin A1C Greater than 6.5 % is diabetes

    5.7 – 6.4% – prediabetes

    Total cholesterol Less than 200 mg/dL … desirable

    200 -239 mg/dL…  Borderline high

    240 mg/dL or higher …High

    LDL Less than 100 mg/dL…Optimal

    100 – 129 mg/dL…Near/Above Optimal

    130 – 159 mg/dL…Borderline high

    160 – 189 mg/dL…High

    190 mg/dL or higher … Very high

    HDL Less than 40 mg/dL increases your risk for heart disease. An HDL level of 60 mg/dL or more helps lower your risk of heart disease
    Triglycerides Less than 150 mg/dL…Normal

    150-199 mg/dL….Borderline High

    200 – 499 mg/dL…High

    500 mg/dL or higher…Very high


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