Friday, February 12, 2010

Lady In Red, Do You Know Your Numbers?

175, 106, 63, 77, 110/70, 22

These aren’t lottery numbers. They’re my heart health numbers: overall cholesteral, LDL (“bad” cholesteral), HDL (“happy” cholesteral), triglyderides, systolic and diostolic blood pressure, and BMI.

Today is Blog Your Heart Out Day and I’m doing my part by asking you: Do you know your heart health numbers, too?

I used to be afraid of my numbers. All my numbers. Scared. To. Death. Thought if I just ignored them, they weren’t real. Even though my doctor would discuss them with me during my six-month checkups, blood pressure was the only thing I took quasi seriously about my health. I’ve had high blood pressure since I was 22 – regardless of my scale number – and before that with each of my pregnancies. I take two medications daily to keep my numbers normal.

Finally, in 2005, with my scale number at 300, glucose levels above 100, my triglycerides above 280, cholesteral at 280, and the memory of my father fighting for his life after suffering a second heart attack at age 58, I took off my blinders and started the long (and permanent) journey to heart health.

Heart disease has long been thought of as a man’s disease, but it is the #1 killer of women. Knowing your numbers is the first step in understanding your risk for heart disease. To learn more, go to Go Red For Women. I joined the site and found a ton of great info about heart health. If you’re on Facebook, become a fan by clicking Go Red For Women Fan Page.

Don’t be afraid of your numbers. What you don’t know can kill you. For me, once I embraced them, I was no longer afraid. Why? Because I realized I had the power to change them and control them. They no longer controlled me.

My Refuse To Regain blogging partner, Dr. Barbara Berkeley, has written a blog today, too, about her family’s experience with heart disease. See “Triumph of the Heart.”

17 comments:

  1. very cute way to address an important topic!

    Yep, I know all my numbers now.

    And ditto ignoring them before!

    And I was glad to see you included BMI. Because I think that is an important number that gets a bad rap because people do not like what it SAYS.

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  2. Lynn, I have been ignoring mine. I have a lab sheet sitting on my kitchen table right now; I was supposed to get blood work weeks and weeks ago. I just put it aside. It is early, haven't eaten since last night's supper so the fast requirements are there.....SO, I am off to the lab this morning.....thanks for the nudge!

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  3. I think your heart health numbers can be a real wake up call. They were for me I know!My BMI is a little to high, along with bp and cholestrol they make me to know I have to lose these last few pounds for my health!

    Love your topics on this blog.

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  4. Yay Mary!! I'm proud of you! Knowing your numbers is so empowering. Please let me know how it turns out.

    Vickie, I'm with you. BMI - for most people - is a valid measuring device.

    Hi, Susan! Thanks for posting a comment! Best to you as you lose those last pounds for your health. We can want to look all kinds of ways, but if we don't have our health, what does it matter, right?

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  5. I ignored my numbers for years--wouldn't even have them checked. But the ones I could check myself--blood sugar and blood pressure--I knew they were going up. and that is one of the motivating factors that got me finally losing weight.

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  6. When I stopped fighting my number, I was able to finally get serious about getting healthy. My numbers are much better, but not quite where yours are. One more reason why you are a mentor for me/excellent role model. :)

    p.s. almonds are THE best thing for our hearts/cholesterol! I eat 16-18 as part of my breakfast 6 mornings a week. Whole, natural almonds. :)

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  7. Lynn....I am back from the lab wearing my bandaid like a badge of honor! I may be able to pick up my results by 5 this afternoon. Thanks again, you are giving real advice to very real people, I appreciate it.

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  8. This is such an awesome post, Lynn! For years I was focused on the wrong set of numbers (see: scale), and when I shifted that focus to the numbers that matter most, I "broke through" and stuck with the program. 100 pounds later, all systems are "normal"--such a beautiful little word!

    Thank you for making the argument for heart health in such a profound way! (And congrats on one awesome set of stats!:))

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  9. Thanks for sharing your story, Lynn - you are such a great inspiration! And thanks for supporting Blog Your Heart Out Day!

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  10. I confess, I do not know my numbers.

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  11. Lynn, I have my numbers and I am so glad I got them...borderline high on most..
    208 cholesterol
    124 triglyceride
    55 HDL
    134 LDL
    My fasting blood sugar is 107 which my doctor says is pre-diabetic.
    So if this isn't a wake up call, what is?

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  12. Mary, how do you feel now that you know? It can be a shock at first, but knowing YOU have the power to change your numbers...well...it's empowering. I'm proud of you. Congrats on having the courage to face those numbers and move forward.

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  13. Lynn,
    I just found your blog by clicking through from someone who follows mine. I read the flabby skin entry, and it brought tears to my eyes. I've been at goal now for more than 3 years after losing a little more than 100 pounds. Somedays I can see the flaps as badges of honor, but mostly they just disgust me.

    I often wonder if that is what keeps me in the the constant yo-yo state of losing and gaining the same 10 pounds...after all I can't ever gain perfection since I have that "schtuff" hanging around. I know all too well that perfection is a myth, and I have times of acceptance and peace. Mostly though, I live in a constant state of thinking I should lose another 10 pounds, and I can't help but wonder how many "last 10 pounds" can/should there be?

    Do you ever struggle with that?

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  14. Lynn, yes, it is empowering to know that I can change the numbers. It is also empowering for me to know what the numbers are and what they represent. It is one thing to see the outside of an unfit body, now I am also seeing the inside results, and I think they bother me more than the image in the mirror.

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  15. That is an excellent set of numbers. From my point of view, you have made an impressive change in your body structure. Keep up the great work and please stop by my health blog sometime. The web address is http://healthy-nutrition-facts.blogspot.com/.

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  16. Thanks Mom, for bringing this up. Heart disease is HUGE in women and still people believe it's a man's disease. So sad.

    I'm so proud of you and your numbers. Congrats!

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  17. thanks for participating in BLOG YOUR HEART OUT day! remember to email your link and either number of site visits or total number of followers to BYHO@getfitbook.com. plus you could win a fitbook to give away on your blog.

    Bless your HEART!
    Angela
    fitlosophy, inc.
    www.getfitbook.com

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