First Things First: Talk to a Doc and Know Your Health Numbers
Are you physically healthy? — Seems like a simple question, right? But if you’re like most people, you might have trouble coming up with an answer.
That’s because health is a tricky thing to quantify.
Now that you’ve decided to incorporate more physical activity or exercise into your daily routine, it’s important to have a foundational understanding of your physical wellbeing. And there’s no easier way to do that than by talking to your doctor and getting to know your “core numbers.”
By knowing these measurements, you’ll be able to approach physical activity with a renewed sense of confidence and safety. And your numbers can serve as the baseline from which you can measure and track your progress.
So, this Monday, make an appointment to meet with your doctor and make sure you leave knowing these core four measurements of health:
Body Mass Index (BMI)
BMI is a widely used formula to measure body fat, and although the calculation has its flaws, most notably its inability to account for factors like bone density and muscle mass, it is still useful in gauging whether you are overweight. BMI is a simple calculation that uses your weight and height. Although you can figure this number out yourself, it’s best to go discuss the details of your BMI with your doctor or physician.
Blood Pressure (BP)
A blood pressure reading measures the force of your blood pushing against the walls of your blood vessels. Having high blood pressure is often the precursor to heart attack, loss of visions, heart failure, or stroke, which makes knowing and understanding these numbers critical. Blood pressure can fall into five different categories of severity, so it’s best to discuss your blood pressure results thoroughly with your doctor to understand the most appropriate course of action.
As one of the most discussed indicators of health, your cholesterol is an important number to know. Having high LDL (bad) cholesterol and low HDL (good) cholesterol can lead to the formatting of plaque around the arteries, leading to heart attack, stroke, and a myriad of other health risks.
Maybe the most important number to know, high blood sugar indicates that your body doesn’t make insulin or properly use it. Over time, this condition can damage the blood vessels, nerves, and organs. Ask your doctor to check your fasting glucose level or hemoglobin A1C as part of a routine blood test.