If you or someone you love requires emergency heart treatment, it will help to know when to get to the emergency room and what to expect. It's also important to know how to be prepared in the event of a heart attack.
One of the strongest predictors for heart disease is measured in two numbers -- your blood pressure. You hear the numbers, but do you know what they mean?
The first or top number is systolic blood pressure -- the pressure of blood against artery walls during a heartbeat, when the heart is pumping blood.
The second number is diastolic blood pressure -- the pressure of blood against artery walls between heartbeats, when the heart is filling with blood.
Normal blood pressure is 119/79 or below.
Prehypertension is 120 to 139 (systolic) and/or 80 to 89 (diastolic).
Do these numbers seem a bit lower than you remember? What's considered a normal blood pressure was redefined in May 2003 when guidelines were revised to include a new category -- prehypertension.
Experts recommend that people with prehypertension -- an estimated 45 million men and women -- make heart-healthy lifestyle changes to reduce their risk of blood pressure complications, such as heart disease, stroke, and kidney damage.
LDL or "bad" cholesterol is more than 160 (or lower if you have risk factors) -- with 190 and above being very high. However, the lower the LDL, the better. An LDL less than 100 is considered optimal; 100 to 129 is near optimal; 130 to 159 is borderline high.