Blood Pressure:

What's Your Number?

High blood pressure often has no signs and symptoms and can be related to many causes. The longer it goes untreated the higher your risk of heart attack and stroke. The only way to know if you have high blood pressure is to be tested. If your blood pressure is in the elevated range or above talk to your doctor.

Lifestyle Changes to reduce risk of High Blood Pressure:

  • Low-salt diet - limit processed foods and no added salt
  • Alcohol - If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation following the guidelines below. It is not possible to predict in which people alcoholism will be a problem. Do Not start drinking if you do not already drink alcohol. Drinking more than the recommended guidelines increases your risk for alcoholism, high blood pressure, obesity, stroke, breast cancer, suicide and accidents. Consult your doctor on the benefits and risks of consuming alcohol in moderation.
    • Men should have no more than one to two drinks per day
    • Women should have no more than one drink per day
    • A drink is one 12 oz. beer, 4 oz of wine, 1.5 oz of 80-proof spirits, or 1 oz of 100-proof spirits
  • Exercise daily - exercise a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity at least 5 days per week. Talk to your doctor before beginning any new exercise program.
  • Reduce Stress
    • Laugh – laughing promotes the release of endorphins to your brain, helping you feel better and have a positive attitude.
    • Less screen time – spend 2 hours or less each day in front of the TV, computer or phone.
    • Physical activity – move your body and pick activities that you enjoy and fit your lifestyle.
    • Re-energize your body with 8 hours of sleep. This amount influences your performance, mood and health.
    • Pet your dog or cat. Studies show that petting your four-legged friend reduces stress.
  • Quit Smoking
    • Reading Hospital in partnership with Council on Chemical Abuse offers a free community program with free nicotine patches and gum to help you quit. For more information or to register call 610-376-8669
  • Weight Loss

It is important to have a regular check-up with your doctor or cardiologist to learn your blood pressure numbers and steps you can take to become heart healthy.


What's your Number?

Cholesterol is a waxy fat-like substance called plaque which can build upon the walls of your arteries which can narrow the arteries and reduce blood flow and the supply of oxygen to the cells. If a clot forms and blocks a narrowed artery, a heart attack or stroke can result. Lowering your cholesterol can reduce your risk of heart disease or stroke.

Healthy Cholesterol levels:
Total Cholesterol: less than 200 mg/dl
LDL (bad cholesterol): less than 100 mg/dl
HDL (good cholesterol): greater than 60 mg/dl
Triglycerides: less than 150 mg/dl

Lifestyle Changes to reduce your Cholesterol levels:

Good Fats - Yes Bad Fats -No
  • Replace "bad" fats with the "good" fats.
  • Good fats are the polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats. When used in moderation it can help lower cholesterol levels.
  • The "bad" fats include saturated fats and trans fats. These fats can raise cholesterol levels, clog arteries and increase the risk for heart disease. Limit and if possible, eliminate these fats from your diet all together.
  • Quit Smoking
  • Lose Weight

It is important to have regular check-ups with your doctor or cardiologist to learn your cholesterol numbers and steps you can take to become heart healthy.


What's Your Number?

Excess weight makes the heart work harder and can raise your blood pressure, blood cholesterol, and can make diabetes more likely to develop. All of these factors can lead to heart disease.

Calculate your BMI below. If your BMI is over 25 talk to your doctor about a weight management plan and steps you can take to become heart healthy.

Weight Management

If you have tried to lose weight on your own and are ready for solutions that work, Reading Hospital Weight Management Center can help. You will work with specialists who can offer you surgical and non-surgical weight loss options to help you work toward your weight-loss goals. Click here for more information on Reading Hospital Weight Management programs.


What's Your Number?

For overall heart health everyone should exercise a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity at least 5 days per week. Regular exercise has many benefits and may help reduce your cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar. Before beginning any new exercise plan, it is important to talk to your doctor about a plan that is right for you.

Tips to exercising indoors during the winter months:

  • Walk up and down the steps several times
  • Take the Steps instead of the elevator
  • While you watch TV, try doing jumping jacks or jog in place
  • Hit the mall – take a fast stroll around the mall
  • Try one of Reading Hospital’s many fitness programs including Tai Chi, Yoga, Aquatic Fitness, and Dance for Wellness. Call Reading Hospital HELPLine at 484-628-HELP(4357) or click here for more information.

It is important to have regular checks and know your numbers. If you do not have a physician, click on the link below to find a doctor or contact Reading Hospital’s HELPLine at 484-628-4357 for further assistance. Our staff can also connect you with education and fitness programs to help you become heart healthy.

Find a doctor

Source: American Heart Association