Know Your Numbers to Prevent Heart Disease and Stroke

♥ My blood pressure ideally should be 120/80 mm Hg or less. Lifestyle changes should start if my blood pressure is above this number. In general, my blood pressure should also be treated with medications when it is more than 130/80 and I have other risk factors or a lifetime risk of cardiovascular disease greater than 10 percent. Otherwise, it is acceptable to start medical treatment when blood pressure is greater than 140/90. (Click here for a heart disease risk assessment.)

♥ My tobacco use should be zero.

♥ My total cholesterol should be less than 200 mg/dL. My LDL (bad) cholesterol should be less than 100 mg/dL (and perhaps less than 70 mg/dL) if I have cardiovascular disease or am at high risk. My HDL (good) cholesterol should be at least 40 mg/dL, if male and at least 50 mg/dL, if female.

♥ My fasting triglyceride (TG) should be less than 150 mg/dL.

♥ My meals should include more than 50 percent vegetables. My daily water intake should be at least 2 liters. My daily salt intake should be less than 1500 mg. My balanced meals should be low fat, low cholesterol and include multi-grain, fresh fruit and lean meats, such as fish. Preparing my own meals will help me maintain a health meal plan. Visit the "One-Page Guide to Heart-Healthy Diet" to help you get started.

♥ My exercise ideally should include 150 minutes per week moderate (10,000 steps a day, difficult to talk while exercising); or more than 75 minutes per week high intensity (swimming, running, biking, tennis, basketball).

♥ My body mass index should be less than 25. Go to the NIH Calculator to calculate BMI.

♥ My fasting blood glucose should be less than 100 mg/dL. Fasting glucose of 100-125 mg/dL = pre-diabetic. Fasting glucose of 126 mg/dL or greater = diabetic. My hemoglobin A1c should be 6.5 mg/dL or less. If 7.0 mg/dL or greater = diabetic.

My Numbers


Blood Pressure


Total Cholesterol





























































Edited by Khadijah Breathett, MD, MS

For more health information, please visit our Heart Health page.
For physician appointment information, please call 520-MyHeart (694-3278).

If you find this information useful, please consider a donation to support the University of Arizona Sarver Heart Center's research and education mission.