Recognizing Vital Numbers for Your Heart Health

We've all heard of BMI, Blood Pressure and Cholesterol, but what do the numbers associated with them mean? Find out here.

It’s common knowledge that eating well and exercising regularly are the cornerstones of good heart health. But did you know, that even if someone appears generally healthy, that person might still be at risk of heart disease? This is why it’s important to schedule regular wellness exams and health screenings. Knowing your numbers can inform your daily lifestyle choices. At the Heart and Vascular Institute at JFK Medical Center, we offer comprehensive heart care services.

Body Mass Index (BMI)

Your BMI is a measurement of your weight that is adjusted in accordance with your height. In other words, people who are taller are generally expected to weigh more than people who are shorter. BMI is a general screening tool—not an exact measurement—of whether you are underweight, of normal weight, overweight or obese.

Check your BMI against these categories:

  • Underweight: Less than 18.5
  • Normal weight: 18.5 to 24.9
  • Overweight: 25 to 29.9
  • Obese: 30 or higher

BMI is significant for your heart health, because being overweight or obese increases the risk of heart disease.

Blood Pressure

Each time you see your doctor, a nurse will take your blood pressure with a pressure cuff that is fitted around your arm. This simple health screening allows your doctor to detect blood pressure problems early, which is significant, because high blood pressure does not cause symptoms.

Here’s a look at blood pressure categories:

  • Normal: Less than 120/80 mm Hg
  • Prehypertension: 120 to 139/80 to 89 mm Hg
  • High blood pressure, stage one: 140 to 159/90 to 99
  • High blood pressure, stage two: 160 or higher/100 or higher
  • Hypertensive crisis: Higher than 180/higher than 110

A hypertensive crisis requires emergency medical care.


Your doctor may recommend that you have a cholesterol test every five years starting at age 20. The test reveals your total cholesterol, which includes low-density lipoprotein (bad cholesterol) and high-density lipoprotein (good cholesterol).

Here’s a look at desirable levels of cholesterol:

  • Total cholesterol: Less than 200 mg/dL
  • LDL cholesterol: Less than 100 mg/dL
  • HDL cholesterol: 60 mg/dL and higher

The Heart and Vascular Institute at JFK Medical Center in Atlantis is your partner in heart health. Our heart and vascular team is focused on providing our patients with the resources and information they need to make smart healthcare decisions. For more information or to request a physician referral, call us 24/7 at 561-548-4JFK (4535) or visit us online at

Categories: Heart


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