Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Now we talk health numbers of Importance!

In many instances, when you pay a visit to the clinic, blood pressure is measured. Sometimes blood sugar, cholesterol, waist size and body mass index are measured too.

These are done for good reasons!

Many people have benefited from this and understand now that many organizations carry out wellness activities annually in their workplaces. You and I know that each time a test is done on you, there is some number that is always recorded ÔÇô a relevant unit measurement.

But really what do these numbers mean? Do we understand them? At least, for common things like blood pressure, blood sugar, waist size and weight for height. Let’s see what they mean!

Blood pressure

We now know that blood pressure causes heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, impotence, blindness and so many others things like headaches. In your medical card blood pressure is documented as a fraction. A number like this 160/89 will appear on your machine after taking the measurement.

The top number records the blood pressure when the heart pumps out blood. It is the most worrying, especially when it is high. The bottom number represents pressure when your heart is relaxed. One is said to be having high blood pressure when the top number exceeds 140 and the bottom number exceeds 90. If it happens that it is higher than 140/90 at least on two different occasions you will be advised accordingly on lifestyle change and some get treatment, especially if the top number is above 160 and they are having some relevant symptoms.

Blood Sugar

High blood sugar or uncontrolled blood sugar also leads to complications that can be caused by high blood pressure, which also include kidney damage and blindness. After at least eight to ten hours of fasting your blood sugar should not be more than 7.1 mmol/l and after eating, especially after two hours, it should not be more than 11.1 mmo/l.

If you are living with diabetes, you should aim a blood sugar that is below 7 mmol/l. It is not always easy but you can do it if you are working hand in hand with your doctor, dietician, physiotherapist and other experts. If you have not been diagnosed of diabetes, as long as the readings fall within the normal levels as described above you should not worry, you can repeat after 6 ÔÇô 12 months or may be just follow your doctor’s advice.


This is blood fat, in simple terms. There is what medics call bad cholesterol (LDL) and good cholesterol (HDL). There is also ‘triglycerides’ ÔÇô some form of fat, also not good to have in high levels. What I like you to know here is what they call ‘total cholesterol’ and we will leave the rest to your doctor. The total cholesterol levels should not exceed 5.2 mmol/l. If it does then it means one is at risk of heart disease and all its complications. Treatment decreases the chances of such complications.

Waist size or abdominal circumference

‘Tummy fat’ or abdominal obesity increases chances of diseases mentioned above. So it’s worth knowing it and even how to do self measurement. Medics’ advice that men’s abdomen should not be more than 102 cm and women should not be more than 88 cm. The measurement should be taken around a relaxed tummy a few centimeters from the lower ribs.
Body mass Index (BMI)

This is a mathematical way of checking if your weight is right for your height. The measurements are classified as: underweight, normal, overweight and obesity. The normal falls on average between 18 ÔÇô 24, although there are slight differences between men and women. To calculate it, height is measured in meters, and weight in kilograms. You then square the height figure and devide the weight by the height squared.

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