Four numbers you should know from your wellness exam results

You wouldn’t go on a long road trip without a map or GPS. You need to know where you are and have a plan to get where you want to go.

The same thing is true when it comes to your health. Think of your annual check-up with your primary care provider as your GPS. When you know where you are, you can take the proper steps to stay or get on the right path to a healthy lifestyle.

Know your numbers

Your annual check-up provides a lot of great information about your health. Here are some of the numbers you’ll want to pay attention to:

  1. Cholesterol – A blood test is done to check your cholesterol. The test tells you your LDL (bad cholesterol) and HDL (good or healthy cholesterol) numbers, as well as your total cholesterol (LDL + HDL). Your LDL should be below 100, and your HDL should be above 60. And ideally, your total cholesterol should be below 200.

    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 38% of American adults have high cholesterol (total cholesterol ≥ 200 mg/dL). When your body has too much cholesterol, it can clog your arteries, blocking the flow of blood. This puts you at risk for heart disease and stroke.

  2. Blood pressure – A blood pressure measurement has both a top number and a bottom number. The top number (systolic blood pressure) measures the pressure in your arteries when your heart beats. The bottom number (diastolic blood pressure) measures the pressure in your arteries when your heart rests between beats. Normal blood pressure is less than 120/80.

    According to the American Medical Association, almost half of all adults in the U.S. have high blood pressure, but many don’t know it because it often has no symptoms. High blood pressure can put you at higher risk for heart attack, heart failure and stroke.

  3. Blood sugar – Your blood sugar number is important because it can tell you if you have, or are at risk for, diabetes. A fasting blood sugar level of 99 mg/dL or lower is normal. A fasting blood sugar result between 100 and 125 mg/dL is considered prediabetes, and 126 mg/dL or higher indicates you have diabetes.

    When you have diabetes, your body either doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t use it as well as it should. The result is too much blood sugar in your bloodstream, which can cause health problems like heart disease, kidney disease and the loss of your eyesight.

  4. Weight/body mass index (BMI) – BMI is a way to measure your weight in relation to your height. For you math wizards, your BMI equals your weight in kilograms divided by the square of your height in meters. For the rest of us, you can use the CDC’s online BMI calculator. A normal, healthy BMI is 18.5 to 24.9. If your BMI is 25.0 to 29.9, it falls within the overweight range. If your BMI is 30.0 or higher, you are considered to be obese. If your BMI is under 18.5, you are considered underweight and could be at risk for malnutrition.

Your HealthSelectSM medical plan covers a yearly wellness check-up as preventive health at no cost to you. When you get your results, discuss these important numbers with your doctor and ask what you can do to improve, if necessary.

Go the distance and complete your Health Assessment

If you want to go the extra mile, you can also use your check-up results to complete the Well onTarget® Health Assessment. Visit the Health Assessment page on the HealthSelect website for more information and to learn how you can earn 2,500 Blue PointsSM for completing your Health Assessment. You can redeem Blue Points for a variety of items including fitness gear, wearables, electronics and housewares.

If you have any questions about your benefits, call a Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas Personal Health Assistant toll free at (800) 252-8039 (TTY: 711), Monday – Friday, 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. and Saturday, 7 a.m. – 3 p.m. CT.