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Know Your Numbers

Taking control of your heart health begins with understanding your current health. “Knowing your numbers” is key.

Below are some of the numbers most closely tied to your heart health. If you don’t already know them, schedule an appointment with your doctor and request her help. Together you and your doctor can assess your current numbers and identify areas where you can make lifestyle changes to improve your health.


High cholesterol is one of the major controllable risk factors for heart disease, heart attack and stroke. Too much unhealthy cholesterol causes hardening and narrowing of the arteries. Your total cholesterol should be less than 200 mg/dL. HDL (or “good” cholesterol) should be between 50-60 mg/dL, while LDL (or “bad” cholesterol) should be less than 100 mg/dL.

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People with diabetes are at an increased risk for coronary artery disease and have heart disease death rates about 2 to 4 times higher than adults without diabetes. A normal range for blood glucose levels is 60-100 mg/dL.

Pulse: Knowing your average resting pulse can help you and your physician know when something is out of the norm. A resting pulse between 60-100 beats per minute is considered normal.

Blood Pressure

High blood pressure can lead to heart attack and heart failure, stroke, kidney failure and other serious health conditions. A normal blood pressure reading is less than 120/80 mmHg.

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Weight and Body Mass Index

Body Mass Index (BMI) is based on the ratio of your height to your weight. A healthy BMI is typically between 18.5 – 24.9. Talk to your doctor to determine your ideal BMI and weight.

Print and Share: Learn more about the DASH diet and heart health activity recommendations.

Take the Next Step

If you think you’re at risk for cardiovascular disease, take the next step and find a cardiology specialist near you, use our Find a Doctor tool.