First: blood pressure.
"Blood pressure's important because it's a major risk factor for heart disease, stroke and kidney disease, and those are some of the leading causes of death in the U.S." Dr. John Dooley, Foxhall Internists, said
Second: cholesterol. Know the difference between HDL and LDL.
"Higher levels of the LDL. which is the bad cholesterol, are associated with an increased risk of developing atherosclerosis disease, meaning heart attacks and strokes. Whereas higher numbers of the HDL, or good cholesterol are associated with a lower risk," Dr. Dooley said.
Third: weight and waist size determine body mass index, or BMI.
"Patients who are overweight, however that's measured, are at higher risk for cardiovascular disease, arthritis, sleep apnea, acid reflux, and even cancers. There are some estimates that between 15% and 20% of cancer deaths in the U.S. are attributable to obesity," Dr. Dooley said.
Fourth: Blood sugar numbers can tell you whether you may be pre-diabetic.
"Diabetes is a major risk factor also for the development of heart disease, and other forms of vascular diseases and kidney disease," Dr. Dooley said.
Knowing these numbers and what they mean can help you work towards a healthier lifestyle.