Heart Health Tests For Men From The Today Show
By Adam Pick on February 18, 2009
I start my days with a good, fifteen minute stretch that includes both breathing and yoga exercises. Some days, I watch The Today Show with Matt Laurer, Meredith Vieira, Ann Curry and Al Roker as I stretch.
This morning… There was a very interesting segment led by The Today Show’s chief medical editor, Dr. Nancy Snyderman, about heart disease. Doctor Synderman reviewed her six critical tests for men to monitor heart-health throughout their lives.
As heart disease is the #1 killer among men, I listened intently to Dr. Snyderman’s compelling discussion. In fact, I even stopped my stretch, grabbed a pen-and-paper and started taking notes. (I guess I’m a little sensitive to anything heart-related after my double heart valve surgery.)
Here are the six tests Dr. Snyderman believes are critical for monitoring heart health in men:
- Test #1 – Cholesterol. Good cholesterol (HDL) should be above 60 mg/dL. HDL cholesterol is known as “good” cholesterol, because high levels of HDL seem to protect against heart attack.Bad cholesterol (LDL) should be below 100. When too much LDL cholesterol circulates in the blood, it can slowly build up in the inner walls of the arteries that feed the heart and brain.
- Test #2 – Blood pressure. While most medical professionals suggest that the target level is 120/80, the reporter suggested that a more appropriate blood pressure level should be 100/70. High blood pressure (HBP) is a serious condition that can lead to coronary heart disease, heart failure, stroke, kidney failure, and other health problems. Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the walls of the arteries as the heart pumps out blood. If this pressure rises and stays high over time, it can damage the body in many ways.
- Test #3 – Body mass index (BMI). A good level for BMI should be 21 to 25. Too much body fat is a problem because it can lead to illnesses and other health problems. Here’s a BMI calculator.
- Test #4 – C-reactive protein. A widely-held view is that 3 to 10 mg/L is a good level here. However, new data suggests that the C-reactive protein level should be lower, closer to 1. So you know, C-reactive protein is a test that measures the concentration of a protein in serum that indicates acute inflammation.
- Test #5 – Psychological test. Feelings of sadness, depression and alcoholism can also lead to heart disease.
- Test #6 – Proteins, Blood, Sugar. Urinalysis and blood tests should be used to monitor kidney function, tumors and diabetes.
While these test do not specifically relate to the functioning of our heart valves, I believe we should all actively monitor our hearts to prevent any other potential complications relating to heart disease.
I am hopeful The Today Show will have a follow-up story that is specific to women. If so, I’ll make sure to create a follow-up post on this topic.
Keep on tickin!