In the second part of this series, we answer frequently asked questions from patients on blood pressure and cholesterol:
What is a healthy blood pressure?
A healthy blood pressure is less than 120/80. The first number is called systolic pressure and measures the pressure of the arteries when the heart is beating. The second number, referred to as diastolic pressure, is the pressure when the heart is resting between heartbeats.
How often should I check my blood pressure?
If you have high blood pressure, check it once or twice a day. Make sure you are measuring your blood pressure at the same time of day every time for the most accurate readings.
What is a healthy cholesterol range?
A healthy cholesterol reading is less than 180 mL/dL. This figure is composed of three parts: 40% is HDL (“good” cholesterol), 40% is LDL (“bad” cholesterol), and 20% is triglyceride levels, the most common type of body fat.
What does “good cholesterol” and “bad cholesterol” mean?
HDL is dubbed “good cholesterol” because it picks up excess cholesterol in the body and brings it to liver to be broken down. This means there will be less cholesterol in your body. LDL cholesterol, often referred to as “bad cholesterol”, takes cholesterol throughout the body and distributes it to organs and tissues. Overtime, cholesterol is built up in the vessel linings, and plaque is eventually formed. Plaque can block blood flow and cause coronary artery disease. Therefore, it is preferably to keep HDL levels higher and LDL levels lower. One way to do this is by avoiding saturated and trans fats, and adding olive oil, nuts, and fish to your diet.
How often should I check my cholesterol levels?
Starting at age 20, cholesterol levels should be checked once every 4-6 years or at every physical. However, if cholesterol levels are high, check it once or twice a year.
As always, talk to your doctor if you have any questions about your cholesterol and blood pressure levels. To schedule an appointment and get your questions answered, call us at 904.493.3333.
If you missed the first part of this series, you can read it here.