About Your HEART NUMBERS
Your heart numbers are two of the most important numbers you
need to know because they give some insight into how healthy your
heart is and the effect that your lifestyle is having on your
When you know these numbers, firstly, you can find out what your
risk of having a heart attack or stroke is over five years - and
secondly and most importantly, this information can be used to
create your own Heart Health Plan. By following Your Plan you will
be taking steps to reduce your risk, and improve the health of your
What are your numbers?
The numbers you need to know are:
(i) Your Blood Pressure (BP)
(ii) Your Cholesterol Ratio (TC/HDL).
Here's a brief explanation of what each one means.
Your Blood Pressure: Blood Pressure is a
measure of how hard your heart has to work to pump blood around
your body. There are many factors that affect this, for instance if
you have a lot of fat building up in your artery walls, they
can stiffen and narrow so the heart has to work harder to pump
blood through your narrower arteries.
A blood pressure reading is always in the form of two numbers,
for example 130/80. The top number is the maximum pressure in your
arteries when your heart beats and is called the systolic pressure.
The bottom number (diastolic pressure) is the pressure in your
arteries while your heart is resting between beats. Taken together,
these numbers give a very good indication of how hard your heart is
having to work to pump blood around your body.
Your Cholesterol Ratio: You may have seen the
word 'cholesterol' or heard it used without knowing what it
is. Cholesterol is a type of fat (called a lipid) that is
found in your blood. It's actually useful in helping your body
function properly, but if there's too much of it in your blood, it
can build up in the walls of your arteries, narrowing your arteries
and increasing your risk of having a heart attack or stroke.
There are three main types of lipids that affect your heart
- High Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol (HDL) -
often called good cholesterol because it helps remove cholesterol
from your artery walls, reducing your risk of heart disease.
- Low Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol (LDL) -
often called bad cholesterol because it deposits cholesterol onto
your artery walls, narrowing them and increasing your risk of heart
- Triglycerides: These fats are a storage form
of energy for the body. However, high levels of triglycerides are
associated with many diseases, including heart disease and
To find out what your cholesterol levels are you will need a
fasting blood test. This will show your TC (total cholesterol), LDL
cholesterol, HDL cholesterol and triglycerides. Total cholesterol
is a rough measure of all the cholesterol and triglycerides in your
blood. All of these numbers are important and affect your risk of
having a heart attack or stroke.
However for checking your heart risk using the Your Heart Age
Forecast, you only need your cholesterol ratio (TC/HDL). This is
calculated using your Total Cholesterol (TC) divided by your
Ideally, your results would look like this:
- Total cholesterol (TC) - Less than 4 mmol/L
- LDL cholesterol - Less than 2.0 mmol/L
- HDL cholesterol - Greater than 1 mmol/L
- TC/HDL ratio - Less than 4.0
- Triglycerides - Less than 1.7 mmol/L
Your doctor, nurse or health professional will talk
through your cholestrerol level with you and help you set a target
level that takes your risk of a heart attack or stroke into
How To Get Your Numbers
Ask your GP or practice nurse for a heart health check.
They'll check your blood pressure and will either do a blood test
on the spot, or will refer you to a lab to do the blood test, to
check your cholesterol levels.
It's important to realise that this is not an instant process.
It may take a while for your doctor or nurse to receive your blood
test results from the lab. They will usually call you when
they get the results back.
When you get your results, come back to this website and do the
Your Heart Age
Forecast. Using your real numbers you can create your
own Heart Health Plan to help you manage the health of your heart,
and to help reduce your risk of heart attack or stroke.
While you're waiting to get your numbers, you can still do the
Your Heart Age
Forecast (using estimated numbers) and you can sign up
for a basic Heart Health Plan. This way we can chase you up
with a reminder email to make sure you've taken the steps to get
your real numbers!
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