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Heart Survey: Blood pressure, cholesterol, & waist measurements matter

Heart Survey: Blood pressure, cholesterol, & waist measurements matter (Courtesy Cleveland Clinic)

CINCINNATI (WKRC) -February is Heart Awareness Month.

The American Heart Association reminds everyone to take care of their heart. That means not only a healthy lifestyle but also knowing a few numbers that Cleveland Clinic researchers found in a new survey that most people may not know. The three numbers everyone should know include blood pressure, cholesterol, and waist circumference.

Don't know at least one of them? You are not alone.

When researchers at the Cleveland Clinic asked people about the numbers, they found people were more likely to know the numbers in their bank balance than any of those! The danger? They may hold answers to predicting risk for a heart attack or stroke. Heart specialists said only one in four people surveyed knew blood pressure should be no more than 120 over 80. If people get up over 140 over 90 they should ask their doctor about blood pressure medications.

For cholesterol it was more about the good and bad kind. While most people surveyed knew, LDL is the bad kind. It should be below 130 to reduce heart attack risk. The survey found more than half of respondents knew that body mass index, or BMI, was a risk factor for heart disease, but only one in four knew the magic number was 25. If people were above it they're at greater risk for a heart event.

Finally, body shape matters too. It's more dangerous to be shaped like an apple with a larger waist number. Women lower the risk for heart problems with a waist below 35 inches and guys below 40.

If people meet those recommended numbers, get regular exercise, and don't smoke they drop their risk for a heart attack significantly. Waist weight and higher BMI was also linked to diabetes risk which ups the risk for a heart attack as well.

The good news was every number improved matters, even if a person couldn't take on all of them at once.

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