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Biometric Screening: More Than Just Numbers

Pay attention to the meaning behind your scores.


If your employer or health care provider offers biometric screenings, it’s a great idea to have one done as recommended. Typically, a biometric screening measures blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, height, weight and body mass index (BMI). This information isn’t meant to diagnose a medical condition but is used to screen for potential problems. If you have abnormal results, you and your doctor can address these issues and help prevent or manage any health condition that’s found.

Your blood pressure reading measures the force of blood pressing against your arteries. If you have high blood pressure, you could be at higher risk for heart attack, stroke, kidney disease and heart failure.

Cholesterol is a fat-like substance made in the liver and also found in foods from animal sources. Abnormal results from a cholesterol screening may indicate a higher risk of heart disease or stroke.

A blood-sugar (glucose) reading is an important health indicator. Too much glucose in the blood may be a sign of diabetes. Left unmanaged, high glucose levels can cause serious health complications.

Your body mass index (BMI) is an estimate of the amount of body fat using your height and weight. Knowing your BMI can help you see whether you’re at a healthy weight or not. If your BMI is in the “overweight” or “obese” category, you could be putting yourself at risk for high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke or heart disease.

Knowing your biometric screening results is one thing — but don’t stop there! Think about what your numbers mean in terms of your overall health. If even just one of your biometric markers indicates a potential problem, it’s important that you commit to getting healthier. Exercise, a healthy diet (vegetables and fruits; whole grains; low-fat or fat-free dairy; protein from lean meats, seafood, poultry, beans and peas; and limited saturated and trans fat, added sugar and sodium); losing weight if you need to and taking any medications your doctor has prescribed are all key to better health. Talk to your doctor about ways to get or keep your biometric numbers in the healthy range.

By Laura Grathwol, Contributing Writer


United States Office of Personnel Management. Workplace health screenings. Accessed November 2, 2018.
American Heart Association. About high blood pressure. Accessed November 2, 2018.
American Heart Association. About cholesterol. Accessed November 2, 2018.
American Heart Association. What is cardiovascular disease. Heart health screenings. Accessed November 2, 2018.

Last Updated: November 9, 2018