I must first stress that a
vital starting point for a healthy heart is to not smoke or abuse alcohol or
drugs - that includes prescription medications.
Assuming you do not have any of these bad habits the 5 goals you should
shoot for are as follows:
- Total Cholesterol: Goal is less than 200 mg/dL
Blood Pressure: Goal is less than 120/80 mmHg
- Only half of American adults are at this goal.
- High cholesterol clogs up our arteries with
plaque and other junk which leads to heart attacks, stroke, and death.
- This can be checked with a simple blood test
Fasting Glucose: Goal is less than 100 mg/dL
- Only half of Americans are at this goal.
- Any increase in blood pressure above 120/80 is
slowly damaging our hearts, brains, kidneys, eyes, and other organs.
- This should be checked after 5 minutes of
resting--I suggest that each home have a blood pressure machine to check blood
pressure at home.
Resting Heart Rate: Goal is 50-60 bpm
- Half of all American adults are either diabetic
(fasting glucose > 125) or pre-diabetic (fasting glucose > 100).
- Half of all diabetics are completely unaware that
they have diabetes.
- Most pre-diabetic people are unaware that they
- A glucose test is "standard" with most
blood work doctors do--if people are going to have blood work done anyway then
they should do it fasting to screen for diabetes.
- Diabetes damages and ages the entire body
especially the heart and brain.
C Reactive Protein: Goal is less than 1 mg/dL
- This is a new area of research and an elevated
heart rate is a marker of heart disease and death.
- Interestingly, each mammal, including humans, has
about the same number of total heart beats in their lives (perhaps due to
modern medicine, humans in the last 100 years now have more total heart beats
than the rest of mammals)--for example the mouse and whale both have the same
number of heart beats. The mouse heart beats at 600 bpm whereas the
whale's heart beats at 20 bpm. The mouse "burns up" its heart
beats fast and dies long before the whale. Each human has about 3 billion
heart beats in our life.
- To check our heart rate we can use a blood
pressure machine or we can find our pulse, count the number of beats in 15
seconds, and then multiply by 4 to get beats per minute (bpm).
- If the resting heart rate is too high, above 80
bpm, or chaotic this is a marker that the heart is being stressed too much.
- It should be noted that the goal peak heart rate
with exercise is 220 minus one's age. Thus for a 60 year-old the goal
peak heart rate with exercise is 160 bpm.
- Even though exercise is a great thing and raises
the heart rate while you are exercising it does dramatically lower the resting
What can we do to bring these 5 numbers down?
- This is another new area of research.
- C Reactive Protein or CRP measures
"inflammation" throughout the body.
- Inflammation is part of the healing process if it
is short in duration and resolves like with an infection or injury.
- When inflammation never "turns off" it
ages the body, damages the heart and is also associated with stroke and cancer.
In a previous blog
post, I identified three ways people can avoid heart disease. If you can faithfully do these 3 things you can
easily achieve these 5 goal numbers and save your heart and your health!