Rally for Red: Why it's time to 'know your numbers'

PHOENIX - When it comes to staying heart healthy, doctors at Mayo Clinic say there are some important numbers you need to know: your blood pressure, your blood sugar and your cholesterol level.

Blood pressure measures the force circulating blood puts on the walls of your veins and arteries after every heartbeat. If it's too high, you're at a serious risk for a heart attack or stroke.

Doctors say the top number in a normal blood pressure reading should be no higher that 140, while the bottom number should be no higher than 80. Without actually checking those totals you might never know you're at risk, hence the name "The Silent Killer."    

The second number you need to monitor is your blood sugar reading. If it's too high, you're at risk for diabetes.

Complications from that disease can increase your odds for coronary issues, including heart attacks and strokes. It can also lead to blindness, kidney damage, foot ulcerations and a host of other complications. Normal blood sugar readings should be in the ballpark of 100. Slightly less if you're fasting.

The third numbers you need to watch is your cholesterol level. It can vary from person to person, but doctors say the number should be below 200.  The higher the cholesterol number the higher the risk for stroke or heart disease. 

The only way to really know these numbers and what they mean for your individual health is to make an appointment with your doctor. 

Failure to do so could lead to another number you hope to never call -- namely 9-1-1.

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