Nationally Recognized Heart Hospital
Dallas   Fort Worth

Find a Physician

Advanced Search

Knowing Your Numbers

You can learn a lot about your heart with a few simple numbers. Your total cholesterol, including LDL "bad" and HDL "good" cholesterol, triglycerides, blood pressure, fasting glucose, hemoglobin A1C, and body mass index (BMI) can indicate how strong your heart is. By knowing your numbers, you can set and reach your goals to prevent cardiovascular disease, and manage and control your risk factors.

You can Learn a Lot About Your Heart with a Few Simple Numbers

When you know what numbers indicate a strong, healthy heart, you can set goals that reduce your risk for heart disease and stroke.

By knowing your numbers, you can:

  • Set and reach your goals to prevent cardiovascular disease
  • Manage and control risk factors
  • Make healthier decisions with your health care provider
  • Start your journey to a healthier lifestyle

Value: Goal:
Total cholesterol Less than 200 mg/dL
HDL "good" cholesterol Less than 100 mg/dL if at high risk of heart disease
Less than 70 mg/dL if at VERY high risk of heart disease
HDL "good" cholesterol Women: 50 mg/dL or higher
Men: 40 mg/dL or higher
Triglycerides Less than 150 mg/dL
Blood pressure Less than 120/80
Fasting glucose Less than 100 mg/dL
Hemoglobin A1C Less than 7%
Body mass index (BMI) Less than 25 kg/m2
Smoking Quit for good

List your starting numbers below.
Today's date:
Today's cholesterol:
Blood Pressure:
Risk Ratio:

Body Mass Index Tracking

Body mass index (BMI) measures your weight in relation to your height. Use the BMI chart below to track and record your progress every three months for 24 months.

BMI Chart

Record your BMI progress below.
Date: BMI:
Date: BMI:
Date: BMI:
Date: BMI:
Date: BMI:
Date: BMI:
Date: BMI:
Date: BMI:

Metabolic Syndrome: What is the metabolic syndrome?

The metabolic syndrome is characterized by a group of three risk factors. A diagnosis of "metabolic syndrome" is made if at least THREE of the following conditions are present:

  • Abdominal obesity (excessive fat tissue in and around the abdomen with waist circumference above 40 inches for men and above 35 inches for women)
  • Triglycerides above 150 mg/dL
  • Reduced HDL ("good" cholesterol): less than 40 mg/dL for men, less than 50 mg/dL for women
  • Elevated blood pressure above 130/85
  • Fasting glucose level above 100mg/dL

People with the metabolic syndrome are at increased risk of coronary heart disease and other disease related to plaque buildup in artery walls, including stroke peripheral vascular disease. The metabolic syndrome has become more common in the United States and affects over 50 million Americans. Insulin resistance is an important caue of metabolic syndrome. This is why the metabolic syndrome is also called the insulin resistance syndrome.

Managing the Metabolic Syndrome

The primary goal of management of the metabolic syndrome is to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. This includes stopping smoking, reducing LDL ("bad") cholesterol, reducing blood pressure, and reducing glucose levels to the recommended levels.

In addition, it is vital to reduce weight to a goal BMI of less than 25 kg/m2. Ways to achieve this goal include increased physical activity, with a goal of at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity on most days of the week. In addition, healthy eating habits that include reduced intake of saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol are recommended.

Click here for a printable copy of this page

Adobe Acrobat Reader needed to view printable copy. Click HERE to get it.

« Back to Take the Journey contents.