It's important to know your wellness numbers and which ones are most important to you.

To conclude American Heart Month, we’ve been featuring health tips that were presented by Brigham and Women’s Hospital women’s health experts, Dr. JoAnne Foody and Dr. Paula Johnson, at the Boston Go Red for Women Educational Forum. (Go Red for Women, sponsored by the American Heart Association, occurs each February to educate all women about the need to take care of their hearts.)

Men take note, these tips can benefit you, too – heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. Today, we present the final tip.

10. KNOWING YOUR NUMBERS IS NOT ENOUGH: KNOW WHICH NUMBERS ARE MEANINGFUL TO YOU.

As a reference, below is a list of what our panelists consider optimal or ideal values for key health-related issues.  While it’s useful to have these goals, we know that every patient situation is different, so it’s always best to discuss these issues with your physician.

  • FOOD:

1,500 calories per day (varies by individual)

  • SLEEP:

Eight hours per night

  • ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION:

One drink per day (or less) for women;  two drinks per day (or less) for men

  • SUN EXPOSURE:

Sunscreen SPF greater than 30

  • IMMUNIZATIONS:

Reassess every 10 years

  • BLOOD PRESSURE:

115/75 optimal

  • LDL (BAD CHOLESTEROL):

Less than 100 optimal

  • HDL (GOOD CHOLESTEROL):

Greater than 50 in women, greater than 40 in men

  • VITAMIN D:

1000 IUs daily from a combination of food and supplements

  • EXERCISE:

10,000 steps per day or 30 minutes of aerobic activity per day, at least five days/week

  • BODY MASS INDEX (BMI):

Less than 25

  • WAIST CIRCUMFERENCE:

Less than 35 inches for women, less than 40 inches for men

  • TRIGLYCERIDES:

Less than 150

Other health tips from Dr. Foody and Dr. Johnson:

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