Regardless of what age you are, but especially when you turn 50, having regular health checks is vitally important if you wish to live to a healthy and happy old age. Anyone with a family history of certain diseases such as heart disease, stroke, cancer and diabetes should be particularly aware. There may be a variety of reasons why you choose not to bother your doctor, and while ideally regular health checks should be undertaken by a health professional, there are certain things you can check for in the privacy of your own home. Here are our suggestions for a DIY health check test.
Are you able to climb two flights of stairs without becoming unduly short of breath? Do you have any chest pains when you climb stairs? If you do, see your doctor. There may be an underlying cause – something as simple as anaemia, but there may be an issue with heart or lung disease.
Measure your weight, using bathroom scales, and your height, then check the results against a BMI (body mass index) calculator online. A BMI of 20 to 25 is considered normal. Anything less than 20 is underweight, and more than 25-30 overweight. If you are more than 30, you are considered obese.
You can also measure the girth of your tummy at the navel - it should be less than 37 inches.
You can buy blood pressure monitors online or from a chemist, or you can sometimes borrow them from your local medical centre. At rest, measure your blood pressure and pulse. Your BP should be around 130/80, with a pulse rate of between 60 and 100. Take readings over the course of a week. If your BP is persistently more than 140/90, then you probably have high blood pressure. A pulse rate of less than 60/min may be considered normal or it can indicate an underactive thyroid. A pulse rate over 100 per min will need further investigation.
You can also check your pulse by placing your index and middle fingers on the underside of your opposite wrist, just below the base of the thumb. Count the beats for one minute.
You can buy test kits for blood sugar, cholesterol, urine, and blood in your stools etc., from many high street chemists. A blood sugar of over 7 may indicate diabetes. A cholesterol of over 6 would be considered high. Your urine test should be negative for albumin, glucose and blood. If any of these are positive, then you should see your doctor.
You should be able to read books (near vision), and read car number plates (distant vision), if necessary with glasses. If there is any blurring, see your optician for a test.
You should be able to hear a ticking watch held near your ears.
Women of any age should check their breasts on a regular basis so that they quickly recognise when something is abnormal for them as individuals. Firstly, stand and look at your breasts in a mirror. Are there any changes, such as dimpling, redness, or scaling of the skin or nipples? Take a note of the usual differences between your breasts.
Secondly, lie down and raise your right arm above your head. Use the three middle fingers of your left hand to feel all over your right breast, beginning at the armpit. Repeat with your other breast. Report any lumps or anything unusual to your doctor as soon as possible.
If you notice any moles, freckles, blemishes or spots that seem to be changing, growing, or bleeding, then see your doctor. Most types of skin cancer are treatable when caught early. Any sores that fail to heal within three weeks also warrant further investigation.
Oral cancer is on the increase. A simple check means opening your mouth and looking for persistent white patches, or sore red areas on the tongue, especially any sore areas that don’t heal in a few weeks. Bleeding and inflamed gums can be an early warning of gum disease or gingivitis, which if left untreated, can cause mouth abscesses and destroy the fibres that secure the teeth to the gums. Frequent mouth ulcers and bleeding gums may be a symptom of diabetes, anaemia or vitamin C deficiency.
Check for any changes in bowel habits. You should have at least one per day. If you go two or three days without a bowel movement, consider whether you’re eating enough fibre. See your doctor if constipation or diarrhoea continue for more than two weeks. If there is any sign of blood (although this can be due to piles), talk to your doctor, especially if you see a black tarry substance in your stools.
Check the colour of your urine. You’re ideally hoping to see a light yellow liquid. Darker coloured liquid means you’re not drinking enough and this can result in kidney disease and skin problems. As we get older, we tend to feel less thirsty but we still need fluid. Aim for at least eight small glasses of fluid every day.
We all lose a certain amount of hair everyday (usually around 50 to 100 strands) but if yours is falling out faster than this, this can be caused by low iron or protein levels.
A final recommended DIY check is your fingernails. Do they crack or chip easily, or look yellow and cloudy? This may mean you have nutrient or mineral deficiencies. As we get older we need to eat plenty of healthy fats – things like avocados and olive oil.
Remember - If you have any concerns at all, please make an appointment to see your doctor at the earliest opportunity.
Your list of chores to be done gets longer and longer, and your stress levels get higher, which makes you feel unhappy! Deal with your procrastination today, with these 7 tips
Forgiving someone isn't very easy, especially when you're hurt. Yet it is important to learn to forgive. Why and how? Read on and get to know.Read the complete article
How to do and have less but enjoy life more? Have you ever stopped to consider the ways in which you can do less with your life and still enjoy it? This articles aims to take a closer look at how you can consume less, do less and work less. Read on for more information.
Everyone is unique, even in their own bad habits or negative traits. Here are some tips to balance those negative traits in our new article!
Do you feel you’re always criticising and judging everyone, yourself included? Do you feel bad about it afterwards? You’re certainly not alone! Read on to discover how you can judge less and start to accept things the way they are.
Sometimes it’s hard to notice when we've become trapped in familiar routines. Take our quiz to find out if you’re stuck in a rut and what you can do about it.Read the complete article
After 25 years in the Bach flower world, we asked ourselves, is now the right time for our own new name? Not only have we grown, but so have you, along with the confidence you have in us. That's why we want to connect ourselves to our own name. That name is Mariepure.
Feeling lost or down? Here are 11 signs that you're not happy anymore and need to reconsider what’s going on in your life.
Stress can be both good and bad; it’s up to you how you look at it. But too much stress can be dangerous. Read more about stress in this article!Read the complete article
Do you care too much about what others think? Do people really think about others so often? Why? Read on here!
Are you unsure which Bach flowers can help you? Contact Tom for free advice.