There is truth to the old adage, “prevention is the best medicine.” You can avoid sunburn by putting on sunscreen. You can thwart the spread of the flu by washing your hands. And you can help prevent heart disease by committing to a heart-healthy lifestyle and keeping certain heart numbers in control before they get too high.

“Elevated cholesterol can increase your risk for not only heart disease, but also other cardiovascular problems,” says Melbert (Bob) Hillert, Jr., M.D., cardiology medical director at Doctors Hospital at White Rock Lake. “A simple blood test can tell you if your total cholesterol is less than 200 mg/dL, or milligrams of cholesterol per deciliter of blood, which is desirable. If that number is over 240 mg/dL, you have high cholesterol.”

High blood pressure can put you at risk for having a heart attack or stroke. Blood pressure measures the force of blood pushing against the walls of the arteries (systolic or top number) and when the heart rests between beats (diastolic or bottom number). Normal blood pressure is less than 120/80 mmHg; measurements consistently 140/90 mmHg or higher is considered high blood pressure.

Excess fat in the abdominal area can increase health risks even more than fat located elsewhere on the body. In general, a waist circumference of greater than 40 inches for men or 35 inches for women is considered an indicator for increased risk of obesity-related conditions, including heart disease.

To learn more about heart disease and your risk factors for high blood pressure, visit the free, online health library on the Doctors Hospital at White Rock Lake website and take the Blood Pressure Quiz at

Doctors Hospital at White Rock Lake
214 324-6100

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