The countdown is over. The ball has dropped. And here you are facing a new year with a list of resolutions you want to fulfill. For most of us, healthy changes are on the list.
One great first step on the path to a healthier you is to “Know Your Numbers,” which can help you set goals and make the lifestyle changes you need.
Schedule an appointment with your doctor to get the information you need to get started, such as:
- Total cholesterol: This is a waxy, fat-like substance in your cells. Some of it is “good” cholesterol but too much of the “bad” type can lead to heart disease.
- Blood pressure: Two numbers make up your BP test. The top one tests blood pressure in your arteries when your heart is beating and the other when your heart is resting.
- Triglycerides: These are a type of fat in your bloodstream. They provide energy, but too high a level can lead to heart disease and stroke.
- Glucose: This is a primary source of energy for your body, but elevated levels can damage your kidneys, eyes, blood vessels and nerves.
- Body Mass Index: The BMI measures the amount of fat you have in relation to your height and weight.
- Waist Circumference: Your doctor also needs to know your waist size since excess abdominal fat can indicate an increased risk for diabetes and other health issues.
You don’t need a medical degree to understand the numbers, said Roxane Conant, MPH, Senior Manager of Community & Worksite Wellness for Banner Occupational Health & Wellness in Northern Colorado.
“Having knowledge and awareness is a key step in making lifestyle changes,” she said. “You need to know if your numbers are within a healthy range or outside of the expected range, either on the high side or the low side.” If they are outside of the expected ranges, follow up with your physician.
The numbers also give you a baseline snapshot of your health, Conant added, so you can know what is normal for you.
Part of being healthy with your body includes being healthy with your mind.
Conant also advises the importance of taking care of your mental health by reducing stress and finding something enjoyable to do for yourself every day.
“It’s one of the best New Year’s resolutions you can make,” she said. “People don’t realize how chronically stressed they are. You need to ask yourself: Are you taking a little time for yourself every day? Time to do something you enjoy, such as to reading, listening to music or exercising? Also, are you unplugging from technology at some point every day? Technology itself can be stressful.”
Banner offers a range of classes that can be a part of your New Year’s resolutions. To find one, go to: bannerhealth.com/calendar.