High Blood Pressure and Cholesterol – What the Numbers Mean
Written by Jiaya Ingram
About 75 million adults in the U.S. have high blood pressure and cholesterol, and more than half are unaware. Approximately 1,100 people die every day due to causes related to high blood pressure (HBP), and the symptoms are not always apparent. Having pre-hypertension or diabetes only increases your risk of developing HBP, and black men are 50-percent more likely to have those medical conditions. They are also most likely to develop these health aliments and often remain untreated or undiagnosed due to apathy, lack of resources and the challenges that the current healthcare system presents to minority populations.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, here are the numbers that determine whether your blood pressure is in a healthy range. If your blood pressure is less than 120/80 mmHg, it is in a normal range. If your reading is 140/90 mmHg or above, it is too high. If your levels fall within the range of 120/80 to 139/89 mmHg, you may have a condition called pre-hypertension, which means you are at high risk for high blood pressure. You can check your blood pressure regularly with a home monitoring device and by having regular check-ups with your doctor.
It is also important to stay on top of your cholesterol levels. Unchecked, high levels of cholesterol can lead to heart disease and strokes, which claim the lives of approximately 140,000 Americans each year. Healthcare professionals recommend being tested for cholesterol every five years, after the age of 20. Here are the numbers to keep in mind to determine whether your levels are good. Your total cholesterol level should be less than 200(mg/dL). A reading of 200 to 239(mg/dL) is considered borderline high and 240(mg/dL) and up is considered high. The goal for your LDL number, which is your bad cholesterol, should be less than 100(md/dL) and your HDL number, which is your good cholesterol should be 60 (mg/dL) or higher.
Obesity, over consumption of alcohol, smoking cigarettes, and excess sodium intake are all factors that could increase your risk of high blood pressure and cholesterol. So, you must maintain a healthy diet and exercise regularly to keep your numbers in check.