Why is it important to keep track of your vital health signs?
Your vital health signs are the measurements that give you information about your body’s internal functions. We all know them because we take them so often, but how often do we think about what they mean? Keeping track of our vital health signs is essential for many reasons, but in this article, I will focus on just one: knowing when there’s a problem.
So what makes these numbers so important
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Blood pressure is crucial to measuring our heart rate and circulation. If it rises too much over time, the risk of stroke, heart attack, or kidney failure increases significantly. Blood pressure can be measured; either with an inflatable cuff wrapped around your upper arm or with fingertip sensors that measure the pulse wave.
The average blood pressure for adults is 120/80 mmHg. If your blood pressure rises to 140/90 mmHg or above, you are considered to have hypertension or high blood pressure. Hypertension can lead to heart disease, stroke, and other serious health problems if it’s not treated.
An average heart rate should be between 60 and 100 beats per minute. A higher heart rate may be a sign of stress, anxiety, or another problem. Lower heart rates can be a sign of dehydration or shock. Rapid heartbeat (tachycardia) is defined as a heart rate greater than 100 beats per minute, and a slow heartbeat (bradycardia) is less than 60 beats.
Cholesterol levels are significant to know because they affect the health of your heart and blood vessels. Cholesterol can also lead to atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries. There are two types of cholesterol in the blood; HDL is called “good” cholesterol because it helps remove LDL, considered “bad” cholesterol, from clogged areas in the body.
The American Heart Association recommends that adults get their cholesterol checked at least every four years, beginning at age 20.
Blood glucose levels reflect how well your cells are being fueled by insulin. Too little insulin causes high blood sugar levels, while too much insulin causes low blood sugar or hypoglycemia. Most people with diabetes monitor their blood sugar levels several times a day.
The normal range for blood sugar is 70 to 130 mg/dL before meals and less than 180 mg/dL two hours after eating. If your blood sugar level falls below 70 mg/dL, you may have hypoglycemia and need to eat or drink something that contains sugar.
It’s essential to keep track of all these numbers because they can tell you if there’s a problem brewing. For example, if your blood pressure has been creeping up over time, that’s something you want to know about so you can take steps to lower it.
If your cholesterol level is high, you’ll want to make changes to your diet or start taking medication to bring it down. If your blood sugar level is too high, you’ll need to adjust your diet and medication.
By keeping track of your vital health signs, you can avoid potential problems before they become serious.
As you can see, keeping track of your vital health signs is essential because they can tell you if there’s a problem brewing in your body that needs to be addressed before it becomes severe.
Taking regular measurements of your blood pressure, heart rate, cholesterol level, and blood sugar is a habit that can protect your health and help you understand how the foods you eat affect these numbers.
If you’re just getting started or have been taking measurements for a while, take a moment to write down all of your normal levels to be aware when something seems off-kilter.
If you’ve been taking measurements for a while and have already established baseline numbers for each of these vital signs (or if you happen to know what they should be because of a previous diagnosis), it may be a good idea to get more frequent measurements.
For example, if you had high cholesterol levels the last time you checked and have been following a healthy diet for six months, get a follow-up measurement to see if things have improved.
If you’re getting started taking measurements of your vital signs, it can help to start with one or two at a time so that you don’t get overwhelmed.
It would help track how much sleep you’re getting because that’s important for maintaining your health. Many people who exercise feel they can skip out on their sleep schedule and make up for it by sleeping in on the weekends. But while exercising is excellent for your health, it doesn’t make up for the adverse effects of not getting enough sleep.
The best idea is to go to sleep and wake up at about the same time every day, regardless of your planned activities during the week. A consistent schedule can help promote quality sleep, which will leave you feeling refreshed in the morning.
Suppose your schedule frequently varies (for example, you go to sleep at 1 am some nights, 3 am other nights, and 6 am on weekends). In that case, it may be worth setting the alarm so that you can head off any potential disruptions before they affect your regular sleeping pattern.