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Dr. Max Gomez: Five Numbers That Could Save Your Life

CBS New York (con't)

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NEW YORK(CBSNewYork) — There are five numbers that everyone should know by heart but most people probably don’t.

Almost everyone can easily recite addresses, social security, telephone, and pin numbers but it’s unlikely that any of those will save your life. On the other hand knowing your waist size, body mass index or BMI, blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar could do just that, CBS 2′s Dr. Max Gomez reported.

“All of those are significant things that contribute to heart disease,” said Shanna Keeler, “So I need to be on top of them.”

Keeler has a family history of heart disease.

A new national survey has shown that Keeler is the exception to the rule. Researchers at Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center picked asked people across the country if they knew what their BMI should be.

“With that survey we were actually able to see that two out of three people do not know what their body mass index means even,” Dr. Martha Gulati said.

A healthy BMI is under 25, according to medical experts. There are free body mass index calculators online.

Experts also said that everyone should know their waist size around the belly button. Women should have a waistline less than 35 inches, men should have a waistline less than 40 inches.

The next important number is blood pressure.

“A normal bloop pressure is actually with a top number that we call systolic to be under 120 and the lower number called diastolic to be under 80,” Dr. Gulati said.

Experts say blood sugar should be under 100 and cholesterol should be under 200.

Keeler said that knowing those numbers could have saved several members of her family. She urges everyone to know their numbers by heart.

“Don’t wait. Don’t be afraid to go. Because it’s a simple doctor’s visit. It’s a blood test and a blood pressure reading and it can change your life forever,” Keeler said.

Knowing those numbers is only the first step CBS 2′s Dr. Gomez explained. The important part is keeping them in the healthy range.

The good news is that you can do something about all five numbers. Lifestyle changes and medication can lower all of them and reduce your risk for heart attack, stroke, and even cancer.

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