Morning Rounds: Numbers to watch (other than your weight)

NORFOLK, Va. - Many people set weight loss goals for the new year, but doctors say that isn't the only number we should use to measure our health.

"We should all try to maintain a good blood pressure, normal body mass index, get eight hours of rest, and have ideal cholesterol," explained Dr. Ryan Light on News 3 This Morning.  "Maintaining an ideal blood pressure, cholesterol, and body fat will decrease the risk of stroke and heart attack."

Exercise, Dr. Light said, is key.

"Most importantly, get 30 minutes of regular cardiovascular exercise five times a week," he said.

Dr. Light said blood pressure is one of the most important numbers in overall health.

"Normal blood pressure is 120/80.  High blood pressure is defined as a blood pressure greater that 130 over 85.  High blood pressure is linked to increase risk of heart failure, stroke and heart attack," he said.  "High blood pressure puts premature stress on many organs of the body."

When it comes to cholesterol, Dr. Light said our total cholesterol should be less than 200.

"The good cholesterol known as high-density lipoproteins (HDL) should be greater than 40 for males and greater than 50 for females," he explained.  "Low density lipoprotein (LDL) should be less than 100 for most people and less than 70 if you have a history of stroke or heart attack.  The ratio of good to bad is important in health."

Dr. Light also stressed the importance of diet and overall health.

"Eating a well-balance diet of lean proteins, good fats, fresh vegetables, and fresh fruit has also be shown to lead to a long life," he said.

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