2017-07-27 / Healthy Living

Knowledge equals prevention when it comes to staying well

When it comes to our health, we often focus on treating the symptom that is affecting us at the moment and put off thinking about behaviors that could impact our long-term well-being. Why not take a proactive approach to your health and arm yourself with the proper information to manage risks for certain diseases? Knowing your risk factors enables you to make more informed decisions about your health.

At Jupiter Medical Center, we are committed to caring for our neighbors when they are sick, and we are equally as dedicated to helping them maintain their overall health and well-being. As part of our portfolio of preventive care services, we offer a variety of medical screenings to help patients understand their personal risk factors for stroke, heart disease, diabetes and more.

It is true that there are some risk factors you cannot control, including family history, age, race, gender, heredity or whether you have previously experienced a stroke or heart attack. There are other factors that you can manage or control with the help and guidance of your healthcare provider. These include:

• High blood pressure

• Smoking

• High cholesterol

• Lack of regular physical activity

• Being overweight or obese

• Diabetes

In order to understand your specific risk factors, you need to know your numbers. Your cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar and body mass index numbers are key indicators of your risk for serious illness.

If you know these important numbers, you can make changes to improve your health and reduce your risk of developing heart disease, diabetes and other serious illnesses.

Cholesterol

Cholesterol is a fatty substance that our bodies need to function. When there's too much cholesterol in your blood, it can build up on the inside walls of your arteries, and increase your risk of heart disease and stroke.

• The normal range for total cholesterol is 180 mg/dL or less.

• You also need to know your "good" HDL cholesterol and "bad" LDL cholesterol numbers.

• The optimal range for HDL cholesterol is 60 or higher, and LDL cholesterol should be less than 100. High total cholesterol, high LDL, or low HDL may indicate that you are at greater risk for a heart attack or stroke.

Blood pressure

High blood pressure (hypertension) increases your risk of heart attack, stroke and kidney disease. It also can damage your brain, eyes and arteries.

• Your blood pressure goal is 120/80 mmHG or less.

Blood sugar (glucose)

Glucose is sugar stored in your blood as your body's main source of energy. If your blood sugar is too high or too low, you may have diabetes. Left untreated, diabetes can lead to heart disease, kidney disease and other complications.

• The goal for blood sugar is less than 130 mg/dL.

• The average blood sugar range is between 70 and 130.

Body mass index

Your body mass index (BMI) measures your weight in relation to your height. That extra weight can lead to high cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes and other serious illnesses.

• The BMI goal is less than 25 kg/m2.

• Having a BMI over 25 means that you are overweight and a number over 30 indicates obesity.

The first step to preventive care is to undergo a variety of medical screenings to get the information you need to take care of your long-term health.

Our goal is to make the screening process as convenient as possible. You can work with our Health & Wellness Patient Navigator to schedule your screenings. Once this is completed, she can help you create a personalized plan to develop a healthier lifestyle. She’ll also connect you with our experienced and caring team of professionals and state-of-the-art facilities, as well as our informative wellness programs and classes.

We also offer on-the-spot screenings at a variety of community events throughout the year. On Saturday, July 29, we will present the Jupiter Medical Center Health & Wellness Fair at Roger Dean Stadium from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. During the health fair, we will offer a variety of free screenings and risk assessments for a host of diseases and/ or conditions.

The fair also will feature interactive exhibits and health information, chair yoga demonstrations, games and raffles. Free tickets are available at any of our three Jupiter Medical Center Urgent Care Centers. And don’t just come for the fair. Stay to watch the Lakeland Flying Tigers take on the Jupiter Hammerheads, followed by fireworks after the game.

I hope you are able to take advantage of the services available at the fair or that you will visit our Cary Grossman Health & Wellness Center. Remember: The more information you have, the more you can do to stay healthy for years to come.

To schedule a screening or to speak with Jupiter Medical Center’s Health & Wellness Navigator, call 561-263-4437. ¦

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