You know your social security number, your PIN number or your telephone number by heart. But what about your blood pressure number? Or your cholesterol level?
To face the truth about your health, Dr. Oz says you need to know the five big numbers that drive most of how you age. "If you're an adult in America, there is no excuse for not knowing these five numbers."
The first—and most important—is your blood pressure. According to Dr. Oz, 75 million Americans suffer from high blood pressure. "It damages your heart, your brain, your kidneys," he says. "It causes impotence. So it's a big issue."
While optimal blood pressure can vary from person to person, Dr. Oz says the ideal number is 115 over 75. "As long as you're not light-headed, the lower the better," he says. "If your number is hypertensive, which is 140 over 90 or greater, you are losing about 10 years of life expectancy."
Dr. Oz says every person needs to check this number once a year. "Most people have a devastating illness hit them, and that's when they know they have high blood pressure," he says. "It is called the silent killer for a reason. Most people have a little headache—they'll feel tired even—but they won't have anything they can put their finger on and say: 'You know what? That's exactly the problem.'"
Watch Dr. Oz demonstrate how high blood pressure leads to stroke.
To lower high blood pressure, Dr. Oz recommends losing weight and reducing salt intake. "Because salt is such a big part of our diet today, and we get about 3,400 milligrams of salt a day," he says. "That's more than twice what we think you ought to get if your blood pressure's high."
Watch Dr. Oz demonstrate salt's affect on the body