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It's just as important—if not more so—to know the numbers that indicate your health is in good shape. Here are some numbers that every man and woman should know. We are also including the frequency of checking up on them; are you getting them measured when you should?
1. Blood pressure: Normal is 120/80; you are recommended to have a blood pressure test every 2 years unless you are diagnosed with high blood pressure [in which case your physician will tell you how often to have the test]; after age 40, every year
2. Fasting Cholesterol: Normal Total cholesterol should be under 200. The HDL (high-density, the good component) should be over 50 for women, over 40 for men. The LDL (low –density, non-desirable component) should be 100 or lower. The Triglyceride measure should be less than 150. You should have your cholesterol tested every 5 years, unless you have high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, or other chronic conditions, in which case the test should be performed yearly.
3. Blood glucose: this test for high blood sugar is normal if the fasting score is less than 110. You should be tested every 1-3 years, based upon risk or chronic conditions, such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol.
4. Waist: the measure around your waist is a good indicator of other chronic risks, and your normal measure should be under 40 at navel (men), and under 35 at navel (women). You should be re-measured every 1-2 years, or if there is a considerable weight gain in the interim.
5. Colon screening: a colonoscopy is recommended folks over 50, and the “normal” result is negative for cancer or polyps. You should have the screen regularly after age 50 (typically every 5-10 years),unless the physician indicates otherwise.
6. Gynecologic exams: women need to have mammograms yearly after age 40; PAP smears every 1-3years if you are sexually active or over age 21,
7. Prostate exam: Men should have a prostate exam every 1-2 years unless under treatment for prostate cancer or benign prostate hypertrophy (BPH) [enlarged prostate].
8. Bone mineral density: women should be screened beginning at age 40, yearly after age 65 or if on certain medications.
These questions help you look at your health management behaviors, including prevention and regular check-ups, showing you what is recommended and providing information for considering your next steps. The more answers that you “match,” the better you are doing. This is not a comprehensive list. In fact, it's important to consider your health across a wide variety of variables, including self-care, prevention/screenings, physician care, lifestyle behaviors, and stress/rejuvenation.
|Sheri Ann Richerson|