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Dr. Oz Offers 5 Heart Health Numbers Following Sopranos Actor's Death

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James Gandolfin

In a recent posting on Face Book, Dr. Oz extends his condolences to the family and friends of “The Sopranos” actor James Gandolfini, who recent met an untimely death reportedly due to a heart attack. Dr. Oz tells readers that heart attacks are still the number one cause of death and that too often it strikes those who are relatively young.

“Heart attacks are the number one cause of death. As a heart surgeon, I know that those at risk can take control of their health and turn the tide for a better and longer life. It’s never too early to educate yourself on the potential risk factors you may have for heart disease. Take this moment to reflect on your own health and visit your doctor with any concerns. There is plenty you can do to make sure your heart stays healthy,” states Dr. Oz.

To help raise awareness about what you should know that offers clues to your personal heart health, Dr. Oz lists the following 5 numbers as warning signs of impending heart disease.

Heart Health Number #1: Your Blood Pressure

According to the American Heart Association, maintaining your blood pressure near the ideal with a systolic less than 120 and a diastolic less than 80, provides the most protection against heart and kidney disease and experiencing a stroke.

Dr. Oz recommends that you check your blood pressure once a month by taking a reading three times and then averaging the numbers. He tells readers to “…be particularly aware of the top number―the systolic pressure, which indicates the pressure when the heart beats while pumping blood―the best lifelong measurement for hypertension,” and adds that if your systolic (top number) reading is above 140, that it is too high and in need of medical intervention.

Heart Health Number #2: Your Waist size

Your waist size is a good indicator if you are storing too much fat around your abdominal organs and thereby putting you at an increased risk of heart disease and other health problems.

Dr. Oz recommends taking a tape measure and measuring around your waist at the belly button level at least once a month to keep tabs on weight increases that may be creeping up on you. Your waist number should be less than half your height. If it is more than half your height then it’s time to see your doctor.

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Heart Health Number #3: Your Weight

After measuring your waist and height, it’s time to measure your weight as well to see how the numbers compare. For the average woman who is approximately 5’4” tall, her weight should be less than 175 pounds—the cut off for being medically categorized as obese. For the average male who stands about 5’9” tall, the cut off is 196 pounds. For every inch taller you can add on 5 pounds; for every inch shorter subtract 5 pounds. If you are overweight or obese, losing just a few pounds can make a big difference in your health.

Heart Health Number #4: Your Cholesterol

The message is everywhere about the connection between cholesterol levels and coronary artery disease. To determine your levels, a simple blood test called a lipid profile tells you and your doctor where you stand with your cholesterol. Experts recommend that men ages 35 and older and women ages 45 and older be screened often for lipid disorders.

However, the numbers are often confused. To keep it simple to understand, just remember that there are two types of cholesterol: HDL and LDL. Your HDL is your healthy cholesterol and it needs to measure at 50 or better; your LDL, is your unhealthy cholesterol, and should be under 100. If your numbers vary significantly from this (approximately 10-20 points) then you need to consult with your doctor for treatment options that work for you.

A third related number is your total blood cholesterol―a measure of both your LDL cholesterol and your HDL cholesterol, along with some other lipid components. The recommended number for total cholesterol is 200 or less.

Heart Health Number #5: Your Blood sugar

Having your blood sugar levels tested 8-12 hours after your last meal or snack is an important indicator of your risk for diabetes and heart disease.

Dr. Oz recommends at least an 8-hour fast followed by a simple blood test or finger stick test before you’ve had breakfast or morning coffee to determine your fasting blood score (FBS). An FBS number above 100 is considered pre-diabetic indicating that you are at risk and need to consult with a physician.

Image Source: Courtesy of Wikipedia

Reference: The Oz Blog— “Take Control of Your Heart Health Today”