Whether, you are trying to lose weight, improve your health, repair your health, maintain your health, adopt a healthier lifestyle or have a complete balance in both health and wellness. It's VERY important to “Know Your Numbers” (Blood Pressure, Blood Glucose, Cholesterol - High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL)/Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL), and Waist Circumference). There may be other numbers to consider based on your unique health. Work with your health care provider to get these numbers, understand them and set your goal to be within the correct range for your health.
Remember, you are the expert on yourself and your doctor is one of your partners to successfully obtain your goal. A Health Coach is here to help you work towards those goals with motivation and education about strategies and tools to use in meeting your desired outcome.
Please read all the information on this page to make sure you are well informed.
What is Health Biometrics?
A Biometric Health Screening or Biometric assessment, provides a clinical assessment of key health measures. These results may be used to identify certain health conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease, or to indicate an increased risk for these conditions.
This screening is an important part of a health and wellness program. A screening may be conducted at an employer health fair, a commercial laboratory or a doctor's office. Most employers offer a variety of options to allow all employees, and often spouses to participate in the screening program.
Screenings in wellness programs are used to:
- Identify participants who would benefit from health coaching
- Provide validated data for results-based incentive programs
- Measure program outcomes over time
- Help participants make the right health choices
Blood Draw or Finger Stick
A biometric screening usually includes some body measurements and collection of a small blood sample. The blood sample may be collected by venous blood draw or finger stick.
Wellness Screening Measures
The screening measures collected are determined by the goals of the health and wellness program and the characteristics of the population being tested.
Body measurements may include:
- Height and weight — to calculate body mass index as a measure of obesity
- Body fat percentage — an alternative measure of obesity
- Waist — a measure of abdominal obesity and an indicator of diabetes risk
- Hip — to calculate waist-to-hip ratio, a measure of abdominal obesity
- Neck — to calculate sleep apnea risk
- Blood pressure — to calculate cardiovascular disease risk
Tests using the blood sample may include:
- Lipids (HDL, LDL, total cholesterol, triglycerides) — to calculate cardiovascular disease risk
- Blood glucose — to calculate diabetes risk
- Cotinine — to detect tobacco use
By The Numbers
New American College of Cardiology (ACC)/American Heart Association (AHA) High Blood Pressure Guidelines Lower Definition of Hypertension.
Blood pressure categories in the new guideline are:
- Normal: Less than 120/80 mm Hg;
- Elevated: Systolic between 120-129 and diastolic less than 80;
- Stage 1: Systolic between 130-139 or diastolic between 80-89;
- Stage 2: Systolic at least 140 or diastolic at least 90 mm Hg;
- Hypertensive crisis: Systolic over 180 and/or diastolic over 120, with patients needing prompt changes in medication if there are no other indications of problems, or immediate hospitalization if there are signs of organ damage.
The guidelines eliminate the category of pre-hypertension, categorizing patients as having either Elevated (120-129 and less than 80) or Stage I hypertension (130-139 or 80-89). While previous guidelines classified 140/90 mm Hg as Stage 1 hypertension, this level is classified as Stage 2 hypertension under the new guidelines. In addition, the guidelines stress the importance of using proper technique to measure blood pressure; recommend use of home blood pressure monitoring using validated devices; and highlight the value of appropriate training of health care providers to reveal "white-coat hypertension."
Source: 2019 American College of Cardiology. All rights reserved.
What are normal blood sugar levels?
The amount of glucose (“sugar”, measured in mg/dL) in your blood changes throughout the day and night. Your levels will change depending upon when, what and how much you have eaten, and whether or not you have exercised.
Normal blood sugar levels are less than 100 mg/dL after not eating (fasting) for at least eight hours. And they're less than 140 mg/dL two hours after eating.
During the day, levels tend to be at their lowest just before meals. For most people without diabetes, blood sugar levels before meals hover around 70 to 80 mg/dL. For some people, 60 is normal; for others, 90 is the norm.
Diabetes is diagnosed by any one of the following:
- Two consecutive fasting blood glucose tests that are equal to or greater than 126 mg/dL
- Any random blood glucose that is greater than 200 mg/dL
- An A1c test that is equal to or greater than 6.5 percent. A1c is an easy blood test that gives a three month average of blood sugars
- A two-hour oral glucose tolerance test with any value over 200 mg/dL
Sometimes you may have symptoms of fatigue, excessive urination or thirst, or unplanned weight loss. However, often people have no symptoms of high blood glucose and find a diabetes diagnosis surprising.
My doctor says I have pre-diabetes. What is that?
- You are at high risk of developing diabetes. You can prevent or delay diabetes by increasing physical activity, eating healthful foods, and maintaining or losing weight
- Pre-diabetes is also called impaired fasting glucose (IFG)
Pre-diabetes is diagnosed by any one of the following:
- A fasting blood glucose in between 100-125 mg/dL
- An A1c between 5.7 - 6.4 percent
- Any value between 140 mg/dL and 199 mg/dL during a two-hour 75g oral glucose tolerance test.
Source: 2019 Virginia Mason Medical Center
What is cholesterol?
Cholesterol is an oil-based substance and does not mix with the blood, which is water-based. It is carried around the body by lipoproteins.
Two types of lipoprotein carry the parcels of cholesterol:
- Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) - cholesterol carried by this type is known as "bad" cholesterol.
- High-density lipoprotein (HDL) - cholesterol carried by this type is known as "good" cholesterol.
Cholesterol has four primary functions, without which we could not survive, these are:
- contributing to the structure of cell walls
- making up digestive bile acids in the intestine
- allowing the body to produce vitamin D
- enabling the body to make certain hormones
Levels and ranges
In adults, total cholesterol levels less than 200 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) are considered healthy.
- A reading between 200 and 239 mg/dL is borderline high.
- A reading of 240 mg/dL and above is considered high.
LDL cholesterol levels should be less than 100 mg/dL.
- 100–129 mg/dL is acceptable for people with no health problems but may be a concern for anyone with heart disease or heart disease risk factors.
- 130—159 mg/dL is borderline high.
- 160–189 mg/dL is high.
- 190 mg/dL or higher is considered very high.
HDL levels should be kept higher. The optimal reading for HDL levels is of 60 mg/dL or higher.
- A reading of less than 40 mg/dL is considered a major risk factor for heart disease.
- A reading from 41 mg/dL to 59 mg/dL is borderline low.
Source: Medical News Today https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/9152.php
For your best health, your waist should be less than 40 inches around for men, and less than 35 inches for women. If it's larger than that, you may want to talk with your doctor about what your next steps are, including losing weight.
You can’t spot-reduce your waist, or any other part of your body. Crunches will strengthen your abs, but to lose inches around your waist, it will probably mean eating fewer calories and burning more off through exercise.
How to Measure Your Waist
- Start at the top of your hip bone, then bring the tape measure all the way around your body, level with your belly button.
- Make sure it's not too tight and that it's straight, even at the back. Don't hold your breath while measuring.
- Check the number on the tape measure right after you exhale.
Source: WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Minesh Khatri, MD on April 19, 2017
Remember to always consult your doctor or healthcare partner to ensure you are achieving your absolute best in health and wellness.