TODAY

TODAY   |  November 18, 2013

Health numbers you need to know

Dr. Keri Peterson reveals the essential health statistics you need to know, from cholesterol levels to the number of hours of sleep you should try to get.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> when it comes to taking care of your health there's certain numbers to live by but with new guidelines and studies coming out all the time it can get confusing.

>> you can say that again. they made it easy with the critical numbers we need to know . dr. peterson is a contributor to women's health. good to see you.

>> good morning.

>> let's start off with a number that pertains to men and women and can be confusing. our cholesterol. okay. so the number 190 .

>> yes. so 190 is the new ldl level that should be looked at for a red flag for treatment. last week the guidelines changed for the management of cholesterol and is now advised by the american cardiology association that four groups be treated number one, ldl greater than 190.

>> greater than 190.

>> group two, if you have cardiovascular disease , that means, stroke, heart attack or coronary artery disease . number three, diabetic. most diabetics over the age of 40. and lastly a ten year risk of having an event greater than 7.5%. it is confusing. but these are the new guidelines.

>> all right. other groups as well that should be concerned as well.

>> yes, now it's the diabetics will likely need one as well.

>> okay. the number is seven. this is for the hours of sleep we should be getting.

>> should be getting.

>> most of us around here aren't getting that.

>> no, but seven or more is the optimal number of hours of sleep so that you have good health but if you get less than seven you're increasing your likelihood of obesity and heart disease . if you're waking up groggy in the morning go to bed 15 minutes earlier the next night.

>> sounds good.

>> right.

>> the number 14 . 14 and again for men and women.

>> 14 grams of fiber for every 1,000 calories that you take in is ideal and you can find fiber in nuts, beans and whole grains and supplements that you can find over the counter that you add to water. fiber has health benefits . it keeps your bowel movements regular. it's the first thing i recommend for constipation. and a study came out that found for every 10 grams of fiber you take a day you can lower your risk of death from major illness by 10% over 14 years.

>> 14 grams per 1,000 calories.

>> so a woman is eating about 15 to 2,000 calories?

>> to 28 grams would be ideal.

>> and a man would be 3,000.

>> yes.

>> does it matter what kind of fiber? dietary supplements as opposed to getting it naturally through foods?

>> it doesn't matter. you can get it through something like benefiber or a handful of almonds.

>> let's move to number 30 . this pertains to guys and testosterone.

>> it does. testosterone production declines as men starts to age. it's the natural part of the aging process . it can cause insomnia, sexual dysfunction and difficulty losing weight and other problems. it's 30. it's a range from 9 to 30 but 30 is the upper end of normal. that's the ideal for men. what can men do to increase testosterone on their own without taking testosterone supplements, they can exercise. it's found to raise production and another study found that when combined with magnesium you can increase it even more.

>> last but not least, the number one. and this is for the number of times per year we need to be tested for what?

>> mammograms for women over the age of 40.

>> okay.

>> for clinical breast exams for women over the age of 40 and pap smears for any woman. if they're having abnormal every year. if they had three normal in a row, they can go to every three years.

>> great information. thank you to breaking it down by the