You know your banking numbers, address numbers, and PIN numbers, but do you know the numbers that could literally save your life? Knowing important basic numbers about your body gives you a great chance of catching problems early when they can be effectively treated.
You are your own best advocate and the one who can most easily track your health changes. Knowing the basic numbers in your head helps you realize when vital numbers are on the rise before symptoms set in.
Do you know that many health issues have no symptoms? That is why knowing your numbers is crucial to recognize when changes need to be made, or when you need to see a doctor.
Take blood pressure, for instance. Your goal is to keep it under 120/80. Your risk of heart attacks, strokes, and kidney failure increase as your pressure goes up.
Monitoring it at home, or when you pass places such as a pharmacy that has a blood pressure cuff, allows you to keep tabs on it and seek treatment before symptoms set in and result in a hospital stay.
When to talk to your doctor
Depending on your family history and risk factors, talk to your doctor in your 40s (yes, 40s!) about when you should get your PSA level drawn to check for prostate cancer.
There are no symptoms of early prostate cancer, and the best success from treatment will be obtained at early diagnosis before the cancer has spread outside of the prostate. A PSA level under 2.5 ng/mL is preferred, particularly in younger patients.
Instead of checking your BMI, using the waist-to-height ratio (WHtR) may be a better indicator of health, as it focuses on the main culprit—abdominal/visceral fat—which tends to surround the vital organs and is extremely unhealthy.
The WHtR is a simple measurement of your waist circumference in relationship to your height and is obtained by dividing your waist size by your height in inches. A normal ratio is 0.48-0.52 (think “1/2”.) For example, if you’re 5’8” (68 inches) you’d aim to have a waist size of 34 inches.
Men, what are you waiting for? Get checked and know your numbers! Healthy numbers mean a healthy heart and healthy prostate. If you follow a healthy lifestyle — eat a balanced diet, get regular exercise, and avoid smoking — you can even turn bad numbers around. Small changes add up to make a meaningful impact on your numbers and your health.