Hypertension & Cholesterol
What is Hypertension? (High Blood Pressure) Have you ever been told your blood pressure was high? Well, in actuality, a diagnosis of hypertension requires several measurements over at least several days, both in the doctor’s office and when at home. There are two parts to the blood pressure, systole and diastole. Systole refers to the blood pressure generated after your heart pumps and diastole to the blood pressure when the heart relaxes. Both numbers are important and play different roles in your circulatory health, but generally the top number (or systole) is used to determine the diagnosis of Hypertension. Based on your number, you will fall into one of three categories: 1) Normal Blood Pressure: 120/80 mmHg or less 2) Pre-hypertensive: 120-139/ 80-89 mmHg 3) Hypertensive: >140/90 mmHg Are you pre-hypertensive? Your physician will likely recommend a combination of diet, exercise, smoking cessation and stress reduction. If your systolic blood pressure is >150 mmHg your physician will likely start you on one or more blood pressure medications in addition to recommending lifestyle modifications.
Cholesterol Basics! How often should I have my cholesterol levels checked? At least once every 4 years, and more frequently if you are on cholesterol medication or have had a heart attack or stroke. What will a fasting lipoprotein profile show? • Total blood (or serum) cholesterol Your total cholesterol score is calculated using the equation: HDL + LDL + 20 percent of your triglyceride level. • HDL (good) cholesterol Higher levels of HDL are good! Low HDL cholesterol puts you at higher risk for heart disease. Genetic factors, type 2 diabetes, smoking, being overweight and being sedentary can result in lower HDL. • LDL (bad) cholesterol Low LDL cholesterol level is good for your heart health. LDL is the form of cholesterol that causes plaque buildup in your arteries. A diet high in saturated and trans fats raises LDL. • Triglycerides Triglyceride is the most common type of fat in the body. Normal triglyceride levels vary by age and sex. High triglyceride levels combined with low HDL or high LDL cholesterol is associated with atherosclerosis, the buildup of fatty deposits in artery walls that increase your risk of heart attack and stroke.