Know Your Numbers: The Hottest Digits in Your Phone Are Your Own

 Knowing your health numbers isn’t just about getting to your goal weight—it’s a sign of your future health. Health conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and cholesterol may be prevented with a little preparation. While your body is super resilient in your 20s and even pretty well into your 30s, it can slow down as you age.

No one wants to spend money on health care when you don’t have to. With work, intramural kickball, school and that party for Etsy sellers, you don’t have the time to spend going to the doctor when you’re not sick. But, in fact, did you know that preventive services typically are covered by your health plan at no out-of-pocket cost to you when you visit a clinic or see a doctor in your health plan’s network? Check out our Provider Finder tool to compare docs and find a PCP in your network.

 The good news is, you have all the power to monitor your health now and get it in check. Here are some key numbers to keep track of – trust me, your future self will thank you!

  1. Body Mass Index (BMI) quantifies the amount of mass a person has (muscle, fat, bone) and then categorizes a person into underweight, normal, overweight and obese. Everyone’s idea body weight is different. Snooki’s ideal weight is going to be different than Serena Williams. Your height, frame, age, muscle mass, weight and gender all will play a role in your ideal weight. We all know that malnourishment and obesity play key roles in leading to problematic health conditions. Your doctor can work with you to determine your ideal body mass index range. Request to get this done at your annual wellness exam (also called a preventive care visit), which may be covered at no cost to you.*

  2. Blood Pressure
    Did you ever play with the blood pressure machine at the drugstore where you stick your arm in the cuff and watch it swell up around your arm? That cuff is supposed to measure the force of blood against your arteries when your heart beats and when it is at rest. Just like any force through a small pathway, having too high a pressure for too long, is not good.
    If your pressure is too high or too low, you can run the risk for heart attack, stroke and other health problems. Having your blood pressure tested can be done at your annual wellness exam.
    There may be no signs to tell you that you have high blood pressure (other than a stroke or heart attack). This makes it very important that you keep your eye on it. Also, often when you visit a doctor, this (along with your weight and height measurements) is one of the vitals that is checked. Jot down the numbers on your phone and keep track of it just like you keep your steps and weight. If you’re into the data thing, you can track whether you seem to be more wound up in the afternoons than in the morning, or if you’re like me and get a little anxious when you see a doctor.

  3. Cholesterol
    Just like high blood pressure, having high cholesterol often shows no systems and can go on for years untreated…until heart disease shows up. When there is too much cholesterol in your body, it can build up in your arteries, making it harder for blood to flow through (often called hardened arteries), and blood flow to the heart can be slowed down. When you lower your cholesterol, you decrease your risk for heart disease, heart attack and stroke.

Put your health first and make an appointment today with a primary care physician to have your numbers checked. Add them in your phone for easy access and refer to them each time you are tested.

How will YOU make your future brighter? Tell us about your health goals in the comments!

*Check your insurance benefits or call customer service at the number listed on your ID card to find out if your preventive care is covered at no cost to you. Coverage may differ based on the type of health plan you have.

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