February is ❤️American Heart Health Month.❤️ We wanted to share some tips to help keep your heart healthy-- and these tips aren't just for adults. Monitoring a child's heart is just as important with screenings beginning at age 10 for cholesterol.
On Health Happens a weekly Facebook Live show, there was so good advice about how to take care of your heart from Dr. Doug Christensen. He’s a pediatric cardiologist at Rocky Mountain Pediatric Cardiology at Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children.
Dr. Christensen mentioned something new when it comes to monitoring kids’ heart health, he says they should start getting their cholesterol checked at age 10, according to the American Heart Association, “When they turn 10 should have a cholesterol test done to look for any signs of genetic cholesterol abnormalities, other abnormalities. Ten years old really is the new time they’re supposed to have their first cholesterol screening,” says Dr. Christensen.
He also says exercising and eating right is the best thing any of us, child or adult, can do for our heart, “With adults and kids it’s getting out and exercising, active lifestyle and eating right. Eating fruits and eating vegetables and keeping your weight down. Those are the things that just promote heart health.”
When it comes to your health, there are some numbers you should know by heart. Discover if your numbers are where they should be, and get tips for disease prevention and heart-healthy living know these 7 points:
1. ❤️ LDL cholesterol
Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol is a major cause of coronary heart disease. It’s the culprit behind most cholesterol buildup and arterial blockages in your body.
Find out if your LDL cholesterol level is where it should be.
2. ❤️ Body mass index (BMI)
Your BMI calculates your body fat, based on your height and weight. The higher your BMI, the greater your risks of heart disease, stroke, hypertension and diabetes.
Discover whether your score is in the healthy range.
3. ❤️ Waist circumference
Did you know that having an “apple” shape (where fat sits around your middle) is more risky for your heart than having a “pear” shape (where fat sits around your hips)? That’s why your waist circumference is important.
Find out if your waist circumference puts you at risk for heart disease and other problems.
4. ❤️ Waist-to-hip ratio (WHR)
Your waist-to-hip ratio is a measurement of the amount of fat you hold in your waist, hips and buttocks. You can calculate your WHR by using a tape measure. Your hip circumference should be taken at the widest part of your buttocks and your waist circumference should be taken at the smallest part of your mid-section just above the belly button. Divide your waist circumference by your hip circumference to get your WHR.
A healthy WHR for women is .80 or less and for men is .90 or less.
5. ❤️ Triglycerides
Many people don’t realize that triglycerides are not a type of cholesterol. But high levels of this blood fat are linked to coronary heart disease, especially in women.
Find out if your levels put you at risk and learn how to lower them.
6. ❤️ Blood pressure
Blood pressure often, but not always, rises as we age. High blood pressure (hypertension) is silent, but it raises risks of heart disease, stroke and other problems.
Find out what your numbers say about your heart disease risk and how to lower them.
7. ❤️ Fasting glucose
When your body can’t make insulin or respond well to it, glucose builds up in your blood, damaging blood vessels and nerves. That’s why your doctor may recommend a fasting glucose test.
Find out what your fasting glucose level says about your risk for heart disease and stroke.