Blood pressure and cholesterol are some of the most measured, researched and talked about health stats. George Vettiankal, MD, a cardiologist at Baptist Health Madisonville, explains what the numbers mean.
Aim for: Under 140/90 if you’re younger than 60. Under 150/90 for those age 60 and older.
What does it mean? The first and higher number, called the systolic reading, is the pressure in your arteries as blood pumps into them. The lower (diastolic) reading measures the pressure when the arteries relax.
High-density lipoprotein (HDL): Above 50 for men and premenopausal women. Above 40 for postmenopausal women.
Low-density lipoprotein (LDL): Under 130 (if you have heart disease, under 80)
Triglycerides: Under 150 (the American Heart Association says under 100 is optimal)
What does it mean? Lipoproteins are the body’s cholesterol chauffeurs. The good-guy HDLs scoop up fatty particles throughout the body and escort them back to the liver to be excreted. Unhealthy LDLs distribute cholesterol throughout the blood vessels, leading to potentially deadly plaques and clots. Triglycerides, another fat particle, can also clog arteries.
Looking for a physician or specialist? We have you covered. Find a Baptist Health physician close to you.