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Know Your 5 Key Health Indicators

BJC HealthCare wants to help you take charge of your health. Subscribe to BJC's free monthly e-newsletter or call us at 314.747.7234 to improve your health status by knowing your 5 key health indicators: You've got to know what your 5 keys are before you can do anything about changing them.

Safeguard your health by knowing your 5 key health indicators and what you can do to enhance your quality of life.

See how Missouri stacks up against the national averages regarding the 5 key health indicators.

#1 -- Blood Pressure
You want your blood pressure to be 120/80 or below. If your blood pressure is between 120/80 and 139/89, you have prehypertension; if your first number is 140 or above, you have hypertension. High blood pressure -- hypertension -- often produces no symptoms, but it can damage your blood vessels, heart, kidneys and other organs. Why is this important?

#2 -- Cholesterol
You want your total cholesterol to be less than 200. If you cholesterol is between 200 and 239, it's considered borderline; if it's above 240, it's considered high. You want your good cholesterol (HDL) to be 60 or above, and your bad cholesterol (LDL) to be below 130. Too much cholesterol in your blood can lead to clogged arteries and is a major risk for heart disease or stroke. Why is this important? 

#3 -- Blood Sugar
You want your fasting blood sugar level to be below 100. If it is 100 to 126, you may be prediabetic; if it's above 126, you may have Type 2 diabetes. A fasting blood sugar level means you are tested when you haven't eaten for at least nine hours -- including no cream or sugar in your coffee. Why is this important? 

#4 -- Body Mass Index
Check your body mass index. You want your body mass index (BMI) to be below 25. If it is between 25 and 30, you may be overweight; if it is above 30, you may be obese. Why is this important?

#5 -- Smoking Status
You do not want to smoke. Smoking can lead to lung cancer, heart disease, emphysema and other lung diseases. Smokeless tobacco increases your risk of mouth and throat cancers 50 times. Why is this important?

A recent study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention -- the first study ever to look at heart disease prevalence state by state -- showed a distinct cause and effect between the 5 key health indicators and life-limiting heart conditions. The states that have the highest prevalence of heart disease also have high levels of obesity, diabetes and smoking. Missouri ranked 9th in this study with 7.3 percent of the study participants reporting a history of myocardial infarction (MI or heart attack) or angina/coronary heart disease (CHD). The national average is 6.5.

BJC challenges you to improve your health this year. Subscribe to BJC's free monthly e-newsletter or call us: 314.747.7234.

In the community, BJC offers many resources to help you improve your health:

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