However, below are 7 tests that you should do and monitor especially if you are overweight and as part of your weight lost management program.
1) Blood pressure
You should do this at least annually. The target healthy blood pressure is 120 / 80 mmHg. Above this target will mean hypertension and this increase your risk of heart disease by 3 times.
Having high blood pressure makes your heart pumps harder to circulate the blood around the body. This will lead to hardening of arteries, which eventually will lead to heart disease.
Check out my earlier post on ways to control and lower blood pressure naturally
2) Blood cholesterol
The 3 major components for cholesterol are LDL ( bad cholesterol), HDL (good cholesterol) and triglycerides. The target readings should be:
- Total cholesterol – less than 200 mg/dL
- LDL – less than 100 mg / dL
- HDL – more than 50 mg / dL
- Triglycerides – less than 150 mg/dL
High cholesterol readings increase the risk of heart attack by 50% and stroke by 20%. See my post on how to reduce cholesterol.
3) Fasting blood glucose
This is the glucose level measured after fasting overnight. You should measure this at least once a year. The target should be 100 mg/dL. If the reading is 100-125 mg/dL, then it is pre-diabetic and a 126 mg/dL reading indicate diabetic.
It is possible to reverse the readings. See my post on how to reverse and prevent diabetes.
4) Ankle-brachial index (ABI)
This should be measured once a year. It is comparing the blood pressure of the arm to the blood pressure of the ankle. Target reading of the arm-ankle ratio should be 1. That means the blood pressure of both ankle and arm are the same.
If the reading is less than 1, this indicates the possibility of plaque collecting in arteries in the leg and the blood is not circulating throughout your body smoothly. This test will not be accurate for diabetic people because the blood vessels tend to be hardened.
5) Waist circumference
You can measure this anytime. Just take a tape ruler and measure the waist at the belly button. Make sure the tape is snug around the waist without making a depression.
Target waist circumference to be less than 40 inches (102 cm ) for man and less than 35 inches (88 cm) for woman.
Belly fat produce hormone that cause inflammation, damage organs and promote insulin resistance. High waist circumference reading indicates high risk of developing type 2 diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease. There is 4 times higher risk of getting stroke.
6) Body Fat
It is the percentage of fat the body contains. Healthy body fat for woman is 20-30% and man is 10-20%. You can estimate your percentage of body fat with the calculator. You could have a normal Body Mass Index (BMI) reading but high percentage of body fat.
7) Visceral Fat
This is the fat that is surrounding the organs in the abdominal area: liver, kidney, spleen, stomach. Visceral fat can be measured by sending a non-invasive low-grade radiation scan throughout the body to pick up moisture in the body. Fat cells do not have moisture but muscles do.
The fat around the organs can easily convert into cholesterol and circulate around the body and be deposited as plaque.
If you have not done these tests, get them checked as soon as possible. It can save your life.
When your results are not ideal, do not be discouraged. They can be reversed with healthy diet and exercise.
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