04/03/2009 - Articles

Note Down Your Numbers!

By: Robert W. Griffith, MD

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This is a companion article to "Know Your Numbers". It's intended to be something you can print out and use to note down your blood pressure, blood glucose, and cholesterol levels. It also gives the desired, or target levels, for each of these tests.

Next time you get your blood pressure taken or lab work done, write the results down. This page will help you keep a record of the readings, and help you see where you stand compared to normal values. You can print it out by scrolling to the bottom of the page, clicking on "Printable version", and then clicking on the "print" icon in your browser's toolbar at the very top of the screen.

Blood Pressure

Blood pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). A blood pressure reading is written like this: 120/80 mm Hg, where 120 is the systolic, and 80 is the diastolic blood pressure.

Your blood pressure is ......................... measured on .........................

Blood pressures are categorized as normal, prehypertension, hypertension stage 1, or hypertension stage 2. The categories are defined in this table:

Category Systolic BP (mm Hg)   Diastolic BP (mm Hg)
Normal below 120 and below 80
Prehypertension 120 - 139 or 80 - 89
Hypertension Stage 1 140 -159 or 90 - 99
Hypertension Stage 2 160 and above or 100 and above

Get more information in Disease Digest: High Blood Pressure or the US NHLBI's High Blood Pressure at http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/hbp/hbp/intro.htm .

Blood Glucose

The most important blood glucose test is the fasting glucose level. This is best obtained from a sample taken in the morning before you have had anything other than water by mouth. Results are reported in mg/dL (milligrams of glucose per deciliter of blood) or mmol/L (millimoles of glucose per liter of blood), depending on where you live.

Your fasting blood glucose is . . . . . . . . .mg/dL OR. . . . . . . . . . .mmol/L measured on . . . . . . . . . .

To convert mg/dL of blood glucose to mmol/L, multiply by 0.05551, or to convert mmol/dL of blood glucose to mg/dL, divide by 0.05551 (use a calculator!)

Fasting blood glucose levels are considered normal up to 110 mg/dL (or 6.1 mmol/L). Levels between 110 and 125 mg/dL (6.1 to 6.9 mmol/L) are referred to as 'impaired fasting glucose'; they are considered risk factors for type 2 diabetes and its complications. Diabetes is diagnosed when fasting glucose levels are 126 mg/dL (7.0 mmol/L) or above on two different days.

Get more information in Disease Digest: Diabetes: Type 2

Blood Lipids

Four types of blood lipid are usually reported: total cholesterol, LDL (bad) cholesterol, HDL (good) cholesterol, and triglycerides. As with blood sugar, results are reported in mg/dL (milligrams of the lipid per deciliter of blood) or mmol/L (millimoles of lipid per liter of blood), depending on where you live. In addition, the ratio between the total and the HDL cholesterol is often calculated.

It's difficult to give 'normal' values. However, there are goals, or target levels, that are widely accepted. Here are the values for mg/dL targets:

* Below 100 mg/dL is the goal for people with heart disease, diabetes, or multiple cardiac risk factors, below 130 mg/dL is the goal for people with two or more risk factors, and below 160 mg/dL is the goal for people with no, or only one, risk factor.
mg/dL Desirable Borderline Abnormal Your Level
Total Cholesterol below 200 200 - 240 over 240  
LDL Cholesterol below 100 it depends* over 160  
HDL Cholesterol over 60 40 - 60 under 40  
Triglycerides below 150 150 - 200 over 200  
Total/HDL Ratio Below 3.5 3.5 - 5 over 5  

Here are the values for mmol/L targets:

* Below 2.6 mmol/L is the goal for people with heart disease, diabetes, or multiple cardiac risk factors, below 3.4 mmol/L is the goal for people with two or more risk factors, and below 4.1 mmol/L is the goal for people with no, or only one, risk factor.
mmol/L Desirable Borderline Abnormal Your Level
Total Cholesterol below 5.2 5.2 - 6.2 over 6.2  
LDL Cholesterol below 2.6 it depends* over 4.1  
HDL Cholesterol over 1.6 1.0 - 1.6 under 1.0  
Triglycerides below 1.7 1.7 - 2.3 over 2.3  
Total/HDL Ratio below 3.5 3.5 - 5 over 5  

Get more information in Disease Digest: Cholesterol, Other Lipids, and Lipoproteins .

Source

Disease Digests: Cholesterol, Other Lipids, and Lipoproteins; Diabetes: Type 2; High Blood Pressure. Website accessed 9/10/03 at: /Home/gm=6

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Created on: 09/12/2003
Reviewed on: 04/03/2009

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