Dec 1, 2021
Self-Check-ups You Can Do at Home
I will venture a guess that none of us enjoy going to the doctor. Schedule a few weeks out, take time off work, drive to the doctor’s office and sit in a waiting room with lots of other people while we wait to hear our name called. Not the most enjoyable way to spend a morning or an afternoon.
What about taking care of ourselves at home? Sounds good to me. While it is not reasonable, nor is it the best for our health, to completely skip seeing doctors, we can perform many self-check-ups at home. Let’s review a few of the health checks we can perform at home:
- Heart Rate - It may come as a surprise, but our heart rate can reveal a lot about our body and overall health and wellbeing. On average, a healthy resting heart rate is between 60 and 100 beats per minute. The fitter and healthier we are, the lower it should be. To check our heart rate, place a finger on the inside of our wrist while relaxed and count the pulse for thirty seconds, then double the result.
- Abdominal Fat - Unlike the fat found on hips and thighs, abdominal fat (also known as visceral fat) is carried around the stomach and is high density. If we’re noticing a change in our clothes fitting or a change in our body’s shape, it’s time to get out the tape measure. Abdominal fat can often be associated with more serious health issues such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Measure around at the level of the belly button. Regardless of height, men should lose weight if the measurement is greater than 37 inches and women should lose weight if the figure is greater than 31.5 inches.
- Low Iron - Iron deficiency anemia affects 1 in 9 women in the USA, and despite this, there is a huge lack of awareness surrounding anemia. The health issues anemia can cause are multiple and may include fatigue, weakness, heart palpitations, shortness of breath and light-headedness. A lack of Iron in the blood can present itself through visible changes in our body. Some simple checks we can carry out include checking the redness of our gums, stretching out the palm of our hand, and the inside of our eyelids and checking the color. If any of these appear paler than usual, it could indicate anemia. A blood test would be recommended if paleness is seen.
- Blood Sugar Levels – High blood sugar levels (Diabetes) can lead to complications such as heart, kidney and dental disease, stroke and blindness. Uncontrolled diabetes doubles our risk of heart disease and shortens life by 10 to 15 years. Readily available home blood glucose tests (which involve fasting beforehand) can detect concerns quickly. If there is any concern with high blood sugar levels, consult a qualified doctor as soon as possible.
- Testicular and breast exams – Most testicular cancer is diagnosed after men alert their doctor to a potential concern. Women have the unpleasant ordeal of mammograms but can also self-examine their breasts. Whether man or woman, examine the effected area for any lumps, tenderness, swelling or changes since the last self-exam.
- Skin and nails – use a mirror to examine all areas of our body. Check for rough or patchy skin, areas of rash or changes in coloration. Examine any moles or freckles for increase in size and abnormal color. Check nails for brittleness or changes in color under the nail bed.
- Teeth and gums – open the mouth wide and run a finger around the tongue, gums and teeth, searching for any abnormalities. Watch for tooth sensitivity, bleeding or sore gums, mouth sores or lumps that don’t heal, cracked or broken teeth. Check gums for swollen or bleeding gums, receding gum line or gums that have pulled away from the teeth. Look for any change in the way our teeth fit together when we bite.
These are just a few of many self-check-ups we can routinely perform at home. The more we stay in tune with our health the more likely we are to enjoy a long, happy life. Be Blessed.
Category: Dr. Sterling