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Women and Heart Disease Numbers

Ladies, Know Your Numbers!

We all have a lot of numbers to keep track of  including dates and times of our appointments, children’s activities, friends’ phone numbers, birthdays, online passcodes, among others.

There are other numbers that should stay top of mind for women that are critical to staying healthy. Dr. Andi Nawab, medical director of Ellis Medicine’s Women & Heart Disease program, recommends that women ask their primary care doctor for a printout of the following numbers when they are tested (and to request these tests if they haven’t been performed recently):

Target* Ranges for Good Heart Health in Women:

  • Blood Pressure: 120/80
  • Cholesterol:
    • Total cholesterol < 200
    • HDL (good cholesterol) > 55
    • LDL (bad cholesterol) < 100
  • Triglycerides: < 150 milligrams per deciliter
  • Fasting Blood Sugars: <100
  • Those with Diabetes: HbA1C target <7%
  • BMI (Body Mass Index):  18.5-24.9

Other Numbers to Know…

  • Waist circumference: While most women wouldn’t volunteer to have their waist measured, it is a good idea to have your doctor keep track of your waist size, according to Dr. Nawab. Waist size in women can be an important factor when clinicians determine a woman’s risk for heart disease.
  • Zero:
    • This is the number of cigarettes you should smoke. If you smoke, quit!
    • Zero is also the number of glasses of soda you should drink. Studies show that even one serving a day can increase your risk of heart attack. A can of regular soda is equivalent to 14 teaspoons of sugar (sugar is one reason why good cholesterol levels can go down).

*These are general guidelines that may vary from person to person. As with any health recommendations, you should always talk with your doctor about what is ideal for you to ensure you are targeting the best numbers for your particular circumstances.