#happylife: Knowing your numbers: What to keep track of to monitor risks for heart disease

Knowing your numbers: Blood pressure check
Checking your blood pressure at home
Copyright KXLY 4 News Now

SPOKANE, Wash. — From family history to smoking to being overweight, there are a multitude of factors that can put you at risk for heart disease.

The American Heart Association said while there are some factors you can control and others you can’t, there are four numbers you should know so you can properly manage the risk.

These are total cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar and body mass index or BMI.

A cardiologist with Providence Spokane Heart Institute said you should have a doctor check these regularly if you’re concerned about a risk for heart disease.

A blood pressure check is pretty routine at the doctor’s office, but blood sugar and cholesterol can be checked depending on your risk profile.

“How fit you are, what your weight is, what your family history is,” said cardiologist Sean Spangler. “Every couple of years to as often as once a year depending on how at risk you are.”

He said if your numbers are abnormal, your doctor could check it even more than that.

Blood pressure in particular is abnormal when it reads more than 120 over 80.

And for those who struggle with blood pressure regularly, an at-home blood pressure test is recommended.

Spangler said if you take medication for blood pressure or you get nervous seeing the doctor in which case, your blood pressure might rise, you might want to try an at-home blood pressure test.

Almost half of adults have high blood pressure, so it he believes it could be a necessary wake up call to make some changes.

“Lose weight, get more active, exercise lowers blood pressure, a lower weight typically leads to lower blood pressure. Changes in diet as well can positively affect the blood pressure and bring it down,” said Spangler.

For more information on how to monitor your blood pressure from home, visit the American Heart Association website.