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Published on April 18, 2014

Do You Know Your Numbers?

Chances are you know your body pretty well. You know which moles to worry about and which ones you can ignore for now. You may even know if your cholesterol is high or if your blood sugar is on the low side. But do you know exactly what those levels are and what they mean to your health?

The Know Your Numbers campaign, which encourages people to learn their numbers related to cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar, weight and body mass index (BMI), was designed to raise awareness, increase detection of cardiovascular disease and diabetes and encourage people to make healthier lifestyle choices.   

“It’s important for people to know their numbers since they comprise a key snapshot of personal health,” said Deborah Murphy, a certified neurology/stroke nurse practitioner and clinical nurse director of the Neurosciences Institute at Abington Health.

So how exactly do these numbers come in handy?

According to Murphy, these health metrics are important because they’re risk factors for developing diabetes, stroke and cardiovascular conditions. By knowing your numbers, you can compare them to healthy national numbers. This will help identify your personal risk factors for potential serious and chronic health conditions.

Many people do not understand the full meaning of their numbers that reflect one’s current state of health, but knowledge is power. “By understanding these numbers and comparing them with national normal numbers, one has the power to begin making healthy lifestyle choices, such as exercising and eating a healthy diet,” said Murphy.

If you know some of your numbers, but aren’t sure if they’re considered normal, here are the healthy limits and ranges:

  • Blood Pressure:
    • Systolic (top number): Less than 120 mmHg
    • Diastolic (bottom number): Less than 80 mmHg
  •  Cholesterol:
    • Total cholesterol: Less than 200 mg/dL
    • LDL (“bad”) Cholesterol: Less than 100 mg/dL
    • HDL (“good”) Cholesterol: 50 mg/dL or higher for women and 40 mg/dL or higher for men
    • Triglycerides: Less than 150 mg/dL
  •  Fasting Glucose:
    • Less than 100 mg/dL
  •  Body Mass Index (BMI):
    • Below 18.5: Underweight
    • 18.5 – 24.9: Normal
    • 25.0-29.9: Overweight
    • 30.0 and Higher: Obese
  •  Weight:
    • Ideal weight depends on your age, height and gender. Discuss with your doctor to see if you’re in a healthy weight range.

If you’re concerned about any of the numbers above, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with your physician.


Health Metric Ideal Range
Blood Pressure (Systolic) <120 mmHg
Blood Pressure (Diastolic) <80 mmHg
Total Cholesterol <200 mg/dL
LDL Cholesterol <100 mg/dL
HDL Cholesterol Women: 50 mg/dL or higher
Men: 40 mg/dL or higher
Triglycerides <150 mg/dL
Fasting Glucose <100 mg/dL
BMI <25
Weight *Ask your physician

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