How Can I Monitor My Cholesterol, Blood Pressure and Weight?

Updated:Nov 17,2017

High cholesterol, high blood pressure and being overweight or obese are major risk factors for heart disease and stroke. You should be tested regularly to know if you have high cholesterol or high blood pressure. That’s because elevated cholesterol and blood pressure have no warning signs.  And you should talk to your healthcare provider about a healthy weight for you.

It is important to know your numbers.  You can record your blood pressure, cholesterol and weight in the table below to track your progress. Talk to your healthcare provider about your numbers and how they impact your overall risk. Then ask how often to check your levels.

  Goal    Date       Date      Date      Date       Date     
Blood Pressure (mm Hg)         
Total Cholesterol (mg/dL)        
Weight (pounds)          

What can I do to lower my cholesterol and blood pressure? 

  • Eat a heart-healthy diet low in added sugars, sodium, and saturated and trans fats. A healthy diet includes a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, poultry, fish, legumes, nontropical vegetable oils and nuts.
  • Eat oily fish, such as salmon, twice a week.
  • Limit red meats. If you choose to eat red meats, select lean cuts of meat. Trim all visible fat and throw away the fat that cooks out of the meat. 
  • Remove the skin from poultry. 
  • Substitute meatless or “low-meat” main dishes for regular entrees.
  • Aim for a diet that achieves 5% to 6% of calories from saturated fats and a reduced percent of calories from trans fat. 
  • Aim to consume less than 1,500 mg per day of sodium. Even reducing you daily intake by 1,000 mg per day can help. Limit your intake of processed, packaged and fast foods which tend to be high in sodium. 
  • Limit the amount of alcohol you drink. If you’re a woman, don’t have more than one drink a day. If you’re a man, have no more than two drinks a day.
  • Be more physically active.  Aim for at least  90 to 150 minutes of aerobic and/or dynamic resistance exercise per week, and/or three sessions of isometric resistance exercises per week. Reach and maintain a healthy weight.
  • Don’t smoke and avoid exposure to second-hand smoke.
  • Take your medicines the way your doctor tells you.

How can I manage my weight?

Lifestyle changes such as the ones listed above may help you lose 3-5% of your body weight.  This could result in meaningful health benefits. Larger weight losses (5-10%) can produce even greater benefits.  To lose weight, you must take in fewer calories than you use up through normal metabolism and physical activity.  So, reduce the number of calories you eat and increase your physical activity.

  • Get at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity a week. 
  • To maintain weight lost or minimize regain, some people need to do more physical activity each week (200-300 minutes).
How can I learn more?
  1. Call 1-800-AHA-USA1 (1-800-242-8721), or visit heart.org to learn more about heart disease and stroke.
  2. Sign up to get Heart Insight, a free magazine for heart patients and their families, at heartinsight.org.
  3. Connect with others sharing similar journeys with heart disease and stroke by joining our Support Network at heart.org/supportnetwork.
We have many other fact sheets to help you make healthier choices to reduce your risk, manage disease or care for a loved one. Visit heart.org/answersbyheart to learn more.

Do you have questions or comments for the doctor or nurse?

Take a few minutes to write your questions for the next time you see your healthcare provider.

For example:

What kind of physical activity would be good for me?

How can I know what my weight should be?

©2017, American Heart Association 


Multi-language Fact Sheet Topics

Heart-related Conditions
What is Angina?
What is an Arrhythmia?
What Is Atrial Fibrillation?
What Do My Cholesterol Levels Mean?
How Can I Improve My Cholesterol?
What Are High Blood Cholesterol and Triglycerides?
What Is High Blood Pressure?
How Can I Reduce High Blood Pressure?
High Blood Pressure and Stroke
What Is Diabetes and How Can I Manage It?
How Can I Live With Heart Failure?
What Is Heart Failure?
What Is a Heart Attack?
How Will I Recover From My Heart Attack?
What Are the Warning Signs of Heart Attack?
What Are Heart Disease and Stroke?
What is Metabolic Syndrome?
What is Peripheral Vascular Disease?

Stroke, Recovery and Caregiving
Hemorrhagic Stroke
Ischemic Stroke
Stroke, TIA and Warning Signs
What Are the Warning Signs of Stroke?
Stroke Risk Factors
Lifestyle Changes to Prevent Stroke
Stroke Diagnosis
Complications After Stroke
Changes Caused by Stroke
Emotional Changes After Stroke
Feeling Tired After a Stroke
Stroke and Aphasia
Stroke and Rehabilitation
Stroke Family Caregivers
How Should I Care for Myself as a Caregiver?

Treatment, Tests and Procedures
What is Cholesterol-Lowering Medicine?
What is High Blood Pressure Medicine?
What Are Anticoagulants and Antiplatelet Agents?
How Do I Manage My Medicines?
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What is a Stent?
What is Coronary Bypass Surgery?
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How Can I Recover From Heart Surgery?
What is Carotid Endarterectomy?

Healthy Lifestyle and Risk Reduction
How Can I Manage My Weight?
How Can Physical Activity Become a Way of Life?
Why Should I Be Physically Active?
How Do I Follow a Healthy Diet?
How Can I Cook Healthfully?
Why Should I Limit Sodium?
How Do I Understand "Nutrition Facts" Labels?
How Can I Quit Smoking?
How Can I Manage Stress?
How Can I Make My Lifestyle Healthier?
How Can I Monitor My Cholesterol, Blood Pressure and Weight?