April 2009 A subscription based eBulletin devoted to your Smart Heart Living.

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Sandra Thornton
I hope you enjoy this issue of Smart Heart Living Bulletin.
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Sandra Thornton

In this issue:
Reduce your risk of heart disease - Know your numbers!

Heart disease is a killer! And it doesn't discriminate. It strikes males and females, young and old.

You can reduce your risk, particularly if you have a family or personal history of heart disease, by knowing your numbers - your blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels in particular.

If you have difficulty seeing charts and images in this bulletin you can also view the bulletin on Smart-Heart-Living.com.


HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE is one of the most significant risk factors for heart disease.

According to the American Heart Association blood pressure should be 120/80 or less.

A reading over 120/80 up to 139/89 Taking blood pressureis considered pre-hypertension, and 140/90 or higher is considered high blood pressure (hypertension).

A great way to monitor your blood pressure is to buy a home blood pressure monitor so you can take regular readings in the comfort of your own surroundings when you are relaxed.

More about blood pressure.


CHOLESTEROL plays an important role in your body - you use it to make cell membranes, hormones, Vitamin D, and bile salts for absorption of fat.

Up to 20% of the cholesterol you need comes from the food you eat. The remainder (approximately 80%), is made by your liver. Accepted guidelines for total cholesterol levels are:

total cholesterol chart

In the US cholesterol levels are measured by mg/dL. Another way of measuring the recommended levels is in mmol/L as shown in the table above and below. This measurement is used in many countries outside the US.

cholesterol chart

The ratio is your total cholesterol over your HDL. So, for example, if your total was 4.5 and your HDL was 1.6, your ratio would be 2.8.

More about cholesterol.


TRIGYLCERIDES are another type of fat found in the blood that your body uses for energy production. High triglycerides are linked with excess weight, excess alcohol consumption, and diabetes. Your triglyceride level is usually measured at the same time as your cholesterol.

The American Heart Association has set guidelines for triglyceride levels:

triglyceride levels chart

TIP When you have blood work done, ask your doctor for a copy of your results so you can track your cholesterol and triglyceride levels over time. Keep your records in a binder for easy reference.


walking for heart healthIT'S SPRING! Time to walk, cycle, golf – whatever it is you enjoy doing – just get out and get moving.

Exercise is one of the best ways to reduce blood pressure, lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels, tone your cardiovascular system, and as a bonus – it will increase your energy and make you feel great!


Knowing your numbers will allow you to take early action to increase your chances of avoiding heart disease. If you have heart disease already, knowing your numbers will help you control your condition and maximize your health.

Smart-Heart-Living.com was created as a resource for those living with heart disease, their loved ones, and anyone else interested in a heart healthy lifestyle. Browse the site, bookmark relevant pages, and send us your comments!

If you're living with heart disease, share your story for the benefit of others by creating your own page on the Smart Heart Living website!