Know your numbers From Spotlight on Health - Winter 2013
If your New Year’s resolution is to be healthier, it is a good idea to find the baseline of your overall health. Routine annual screenings can help to detect underlying health conditions and disease.
Cholesterol is a fat-like substance made by your body to make cell membranes and hormones. When cholesterol is high, your risk for heart disease increases. The desired level is <200 mg/dl*.
HDL (high-density lipoprotein — good cholesterol) is believed to carry cholesterol away from your arteries and therefore lower your risk for heart disease. Low HDL puts you at a higher risk for heart disease. You are at lowest risk with an HDL of >60 mg/dl.
LDL (low-density lipoprotein— bad cholesterol) carries about 60-80% of the cholesterol in your blood. High levels of LDL can slowly build up on the walls of your arteries, causing them to harden and narrow. Over time, your heart cannot get enough blood to stay healthy. This is a condition called atherosclerosis. The desired LDL level is <100 mg/dl.
Triglycerides are the most common type of fat in the body. They come from food and our bodies produce them. Many people who have heart disease or diabetes have high fasting triglycerides. The desired level is 50-150 mg/dl.
Glucose – Fasting blood sugar is used to screen or monitor how well your body is processing sugar. Diabetes is a common disease in which the body does not produce or properly use insulin. Insulin is a hormone that is needed to convert sugar, starches and other foods into energy needed for daily life.
Fasting Blood Glucose:
Normal level: 70-100 mg/dl
Pre-diabetes: 100-125 mg/dl
Diabetes: 126 mg/dl or greater
Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) – The TSH test is used for evaluating thyroid function and/or symptoms of hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism. A high TSH result often means an underactive thyroid gland that is not responding adequately to the stimulation of TSH. A low TSH result can indicate an overactive thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism) or excessive amounts of thyroid medication in those who are being treated for a thyroid disorder. Average range is 0.47-5.00.
To learn more about individual tests, visit www.labtestsonline.org.
CentraCare Laboratory Services can perform these tests without a doctor’s referral. These Direct Access Testing services are available at CentraCare Laboratory Services from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday at CentraCare Health Plaza and from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday-Friday at St. Cloud Hospital.
Learn more about Direct Access Testing
What you can do if your numbers are not within normal limits:
1. Make an appointment with your doctor. Additional tests may be necessary for accurate diagnosis.
2. Watch your diet. A 10 percent reduction in cholesterol numbers may reduce your risk of heart disease by 30 percent.
3. Manage your daily stress. Stress can adversely impact your health.
4. Increase physical activity. Studies show that exercising 30 minutes a day, five times a week, can have lifetime benefits.