BlueHealth Advantage - Know Your Numbers

Know Your Numbers

Know Your Numbers

Are you at risk for diabetes, heart disease and other chronic diseases? And how do you know? Thankfully there is a system of “numbers” we can use to tell us how we compare to the healthy state. By knowing your numbers, you can take action to make positive changes that will help prevent the onset of chronic health conditions. Some of the numbers that are important for you to know are:

  • Blood Pressure – This is one of the strongest markers for heart disease risk. It is measured as two numbers. Systolic pressure is the first number and is the pressure when the heart is contracting. Diastolic is the second number and is the pressure when the heart is at rest between beats. Normal blood pressure is 120 / 80 or below.
  • Cholesterol Levels – Too much bad cholesterol can lead to a hardening of your arteries. This can put you at risk for a heart attack or stroke. When it comes to cholesterol, there are two important numbers you should know. LDL, is the bad cholesterol, and should be below 130 mg/dL, and lower is better. HDL, is good cholesterol, and should be above 40 mg/dL. Your total cholesterol (TC) level should be below 200 mg/dL.
  • Blood Sugar – A blood sugar test is commonly used to diagnose the presence of diabetes. A fasting blood sugar (taken when you haven’t eaten for 12 hours) should be below 100 mg/dL.
  • Body Mass Index (BMI) – This is calculated from two other numbers that you probably know – your weight and height. Your BMI will be one way to gauge if you are classified as being overweight. However, it is not a perfect measure. In people with above normal muscle mass, like bodybuilders, the BMI may indicate the individual is overweight when they are in great condition. For most of us, however, BMI is a great way to gauge how our weight compares to recommended levels. To calculate your BMI, go to the tools section of BlueHealth Advantage where you will find a BMI calculator. Normal BMI is below 25.

Waist circumference — A high waist circumference indicates a greater level of abdominal fat which is associated with an increased risk for type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and heart disease. According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services women with a waist circumference of more than 35 inches, and men with a waist circumference of more than 40 inches are at increased disease risk.

Of course, you inherit some risk for these diseases from your family. But the majority of chronic disease risk is in the lifestyle we lead - specifically linked to smoking, poor diet and an inactive lifestyle. These are things you can change!

In order to help you understand and remember healthy numbers, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska is proud to offer the Know Your Numbers Campaign. In addition to providing educational assistance to our customers providing screenings to their employees, we would like to encourage you to know and track your own numbers with our Know Your Numbers wallet card (download below). Keep it with you and record your numbers at every screening and physician visit.

Download the Know Your Numbers Wallet Card (416 KB)

Newly Added: Preventive Screenings Reminder Flyer