Preventing Heart Disease

Here are some things you can do to lower your risk for heart disease:

  • Eat a healthy diet with lots of fruits and vegetables, lean protein, low-fat dairy, and whole grain breads.
  • Avoid tobacco of any kind.
  • Exercise and generally stay active.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Manage your stress.

Know Your Numbers

Because blood pressure, cholesterol and triglycerides have a lot to do with heart disease, you should know these numbers. Schedule an appointment with your doctor to have these checked.

By checking your numbers every year, you have the power to make choices about your health. Learn what you need to do to stay healthy or improve your health, so your heart can be healthy, too.

Blood Pressure

Blood Pressure is the force of blood against the walls of your arteries when your heart pumps and is at rest between beats. It is measured with two numbers.

Category Systolic (top number) Diastolic (bottom number)
Borderline High
High Blood Pressure
120 or below
120 to 129
130 and above
80 or below
80 or below
80 and above

People with high blood pressure often have no signs that there is a problem, so check your blood pressure every one to two years.

High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart attack and stroke. Knowing your blood pressure is an important part of controlling your own health.


Cholesterol is a waxy substance made by your liver. High cholesterol can result from eating too many foods high in saturated fats, especially fats from animals. You can also inherit from your family a tendency for your liver to make too much cholesterol.

Too much cholesterol in your blood can clog your arteries and keep your heart from getting the blood it needs. Inadequate blood to your heart’s arteries can cause a heart attack. The lower your total cholesterol, the better.

Total Cholesterol Level Category
Less than 200 mg/dL
200 to 239 mg/dL
240 mg/dL and above
Borderline high

There are two types of cholesterol:

Low-density lipoprotein (LDL)

is the "bad" type of cholesterol because it can clog the arteries that carry blood to your heart. For LDL, lower numbers are better.

LDL Cholesterol Level Category
Less than 100 mg/dL
100 to 129 mg/dL
130 to 159 mg/dL
160 to 189 mg/dL
190 mg/dL and above
Near optimal/above optimal
Borderline high
Very high

High-density lipoprotein (HDL) is "good" cholesterol because it takes the bad cholesterol out of your blood and keeps it from building up in your arteries. For HDL, higher numbers are better. Your HDL should be above 45 mg/dL, but more than 60 mg/dL is best.


Triglycerides are a type of fat in your blood. Too many triglycerides in your blood can lead to heart disease.

Triglycerides Level Category
Less than 100 mg/dL
150 to 199 mg/dL
200 to 499 mg/dL
500 mg/dL and above
Borderline normal
Very high

What Can You Do About Your Numbers and Heart Disease?

If your cholesterol or triglyceride levels are high, talk to your doctor about what you can do to lower them. You may be able to lower your cholesterol and triglyceride levels by eating better and exercising more. Your doctor may give you medicine to help lower your cholesterol.

Premier Community Health Can Help

If you don’t know your cholesterol or blood pressure numbers, you can learn them for free in February. Premier Community Health offers free heart screenings throughout Dayton and Cincinnati communities during American Heart Month.

No fasting or appointment is required. Simply stop by one of our 30 locations offering this life-saving test.

We will test your total cholesterol, HDL (good cholesterol), blood sugar and blood pressure for free.

For the location nearest you, please call CareFinders at (866) 608-FIND (3463)(866) 608-FIND (3463).

Source: Premier Health Community Wellness Affiliate - Premier Community Health

Content Updated: January 31, 2018

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