Numbers don’t lie: The health stats you need to know

| 2 min read

Health numbers you need to know
There’s a reason that most doctor’s appointments begin with updating numbers like weight, height and blood pressure. Numbers are a good way to get a sense of how healthy you are and to see if you’re at risk for certain diseases. Here are some you should know:
  1. BMI: We’ve talked before about how BMI may not be a fool-proof way to see if you’re overweight or not, but it’s still a good number to be aware of. The Mayo Clinic offers an online calculator—just put in your weight and height and you’ll see if you’re in a healthy range or not.
  1. Blood pressure: This is actually two numbers: The top number should be less than 120 and the bottom number should be less than 80. As the numbers start getting higher, you could be at risk for prehypertension or high blood pressure.
  1. Waist circumference: The measurement of your waist tells you how much belly fat you have—too much and you could be at a higher risk of dying prematurely. Take some measuring tape and put it around your natural waist—women should be concerned if the measurement is more than 35 inches and men should alert their doctor if it’s more than 40 inches.
  1. Cholesterol: There are three numbers that make up your cholesterol—HDL (this is the “good” kind), LDL (the “bad” kind) and triglycerides. The most important is the LDL. Doctors will usually want this below 100 mg/dL.
  1. Resting heart rate: There is a wide range of healthy resting heart rates—anything from 60 to 100 is normal while elite athletes might have a resting pulse closer to 40 beats per minute. If yours seems to fall outside of that range, it might be a sign of something more serious going on and you should talk to your doctor.
This blog post is part of #HealthyMe, a personalized web experience based on your health and wellness goals. To sign up today, visit
Photo credit: jypsygen

A Healthier Michigan is sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, a nonprofit, independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.
No Personal Healthcare Advice or Other Advice
This Web site provides general educational information on health-related issues and provides access to health-related resources for the convenience of our users. This site and its health-related information and resources are not a substitute for professional medical advice or for the care that patients receive from their physicians or other health care providers.
This site and its health-related information resources are not meant to be the practice of medicine, the practice of nursing, or to carry out any professional health care advice or service in the state where you live. Nothing in this Web site is to be used for medical or nursing diagnosis or professional treatment.
Always seek the advice of your physician or other licensed health care provider. Always consult your health care provider before beginning any new treatment, or if you have any questions regarding a health condition. You should not disregard medical advice, or delay seeking medical advice, because of something you read in this site.