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Know Your Numbers

Has your doctor told you that you should "know your numbers?"

Here's what that means:

  • Know what your blood pressure is and how it compares to the target rate for your age.
  • Know what your cholesterol numbers are, including specifics for LDL, HDL and triglycerides.
  • Keep track of your weight and body mass index (BMI), which is a measure of body fat as opposed to total weight

These numbers can help you be aware of potential health issues, manage current health issues and help you set goals to reach better numbers. The American Heart Association recommends staying within the guidelines below to stay healthy:

Risk Factor



Total Cholesterol


Less than 200 mg/dL

HDL (good cholesterol)


Women: 50 mg/dL or higher Men: 40 mg/dL or higher

Blood Pressure


Less than 120/80 mm Hg

Fasting Glucose


Less than 100 mg/dL

Body Mass Index


Less than 25 kg/m

Waist Circumference


Women:  35 inches or less
Men: 40 inches or less

Note: If you have a chronic condition, your doctor or nurse might have you track additional numbers, such as your pulse after certain activities or your sodium or sugar intake. 

Tips for Keeping Track of Your Numbers

  • Keep all of your After Visit Summaries, the document printed on blue paper that your doctor or nurse gives you after each appointment. It contains the vital signs that were taken during each appointment.
  • Journal your numbers in a small notepad that you can keep in your purse, glove box or desk drawer.
  • Use MyChart to have immediate electronic access to vital signs, test results and other medical records.
  • Talk to your doctor about setting goals. A medical professional can advise you on ways to reach a certain goal, such as making dietary changes to lower your cholesterol.


© Copyright 2002 - The MetroHealth System|2500 MetroHealth Drive|Cleveland, OH 44109|(216) 778-7800|All Rights Reserved.
  • © Copyright 2002 - The MetroHealth System
  • 2500 MetroHealth Drive|Cleveland, OH 44109|(216) 778-7800
  • All Rights Reserved.