Blood is your body’s postman – it carries nutrients, electrolytes, hormones, heat and oxygen through your system. It’s also your rubbish truck, delivering waste to your kidneys and liver.

As such, “your blood is often a window into the overall health of your body,” says Dr Prediman Shah, a cardiologist. These are the vital blood stats every man should know.

BLOOD PRESSURE

Ideal range

up to 120/80

Why it matters

Over time, excessive pressure can damage arteries and veins as well as blood processing organs, such as your kidneys.

Your move

Check your BP at least four times a year. Record the date along with your stats to monitor trends, says Dr John Cleator of Vanderbilt University. If either number falls outside the ideal range by 10 or more points, it’s time to see your doctor.

HEART RATE

Ideal range

60 to 100 beats per minute (bpm); an athlete’s can be lower.

Why it matters

For each 15 bpm bump in a man’s resting heart rate, his heart disease risk rises by 24%, according to 2010 research in the American Heart Journal.

Your move

Take your pulse before you get out of bed and track it for a few months, says Dr Wobo Bekwelem of the University of Minnesota. Regular exercise can lower your resting pulse.

BLOOD SUGAR

Ideal range

Fasting blood sugar lower than 101mg/dL

Why it matters

Your blood sugar levels offer illuminating clues about your risk of diabetes.

Your move

Ask your doctor for a comprehensive metabolic panel. If your levels all come back normal, you can return for a follow-up in two to three years, Dr Shah suggests. If your blood glucose is between 90 and 126mg/dL, then you may have prediabetes.

CHOLESTEROL

Ideal ranges

LDL below 216mg/dL; HDL above 85mg/dL; non-HDL below 278mg/dL

Why it matters

A large 2009 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that people’s heart disease risk rose 50% for every 97mg/dL uptick in non-HDL cholesterol (total cholesterol minus HDL).

Your move

Have your lipids tested yearly, Dr Cleator recommends.

BLOOD TYPE

Why it matters

Your blood type is either A, B, O or AB determined by proteins, called antigens, on your red blood cells. Some people have another protein, called Rh factor. People with Rh-negative blood can’t receive Rh-positive blood.

Your move

People with Group-O blood can make a difference by donating to blood banks – this type is in extra demand. AB-positive blood is also in short supply and it’s valued for plasma.