One in every four deaths in the U.S. is due to heart disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention—in other words, taking care of this all-important organ should be a top priority for everyone. But how do you know if you’re at risk for heart disease? It all comes back to seven critical numbers that can serve as major clues to your health.
One of the most important factors to keep in mind is your body’s fat composition. That is, women should keep their waist circumference—which is a measure of belly fat—under 35 inches, since excess weight around the middle increases one’s chances of developing heart disease.
It’s also important to keep your body mass index, or BMI, in check. BMI is a measure of your body fat in relation to your height and weight. It’s best to keep the ratio below 25, at which point a person is considered overweight. A BMI of 30 or higher is considered obese. As with most health conditions we want to avoid, being overweight heightens your risk of heart disease, since extra pounds work to strain the heart muscle even more and increase both blood pressure and cholesterol levels, too.
RELATED: 9 Surprising Heart Attack Risks
Other important numbers that can provide insight into whether or not you’re at risk for heart disease down the line include your blood pressure levels and how low or high your LDLs (aka “bad” cholesterol) and HDLs (aka “good” cholesterol) levels are.
Want to learn more about the numbers that can help keep your heart healthy? In this video, we highlight the seven health stats that matter most for your heart disease risk, plus the range each one should be in.