Health in Your Hands: Self-Health Checks You Can Do At Home

Dreading a visit to the doctor? Don’t worry, we’ve all been there: poked and prodded, forced to sport unsightly medical gowns, not to mention the awkward interrogations regarding our private health conditions.

The good news? You don’t always need to go to a medical practitioner to get yourself checked out. When we’re feeling a little under the weather – or even if we’re not – there are simple, routine self-health checks we can perform ourselves, from the comfort of our own homes.

The best part? You don’t even need to complete any online nursing courses to be able to perform these checks. Save the medical study for the professionals. Instead, let us talk you through the self-health checks you can quite easily do yourself at home.

Self-Health Check #1: Monitor Your Visceral Fat

Under the impression that BMI (also known as Body Mass Index) is the most important measure of body weight? You’re wrong! In truth, the lies we have been sold about BMI as a measure of optimal health have recently been found to be both inaccurate and misleading. Instead, it’s been suggested that a far more accurate way to measure whether you are at a healthy weight is to monitor how much visceral fat you have around your abdomen.

Carry your weight predominantly in your midsection? Having an abundance of fatty tissue around your internal organs can be exceptionally dangerous and detrimental to your health. Why? Visceral or abdominal fat can cause heart disease, organ failure, and a plethora of other health issues – such as diabetes, high cholesterol, and an increased risk of strokes, as well as Alzheimer’s.

So, how do you measure your visceral fat? The answer is simple – just use a tape measure! If you find your waist size is increasing exponentially, it might be time to consider taking some weight loss initiatives.

Self-Health Check #2: Check Your Heart Rate

Have you ever checked your heart rate? If not, perhaps you should.

Why? Well, if you’ve ever felt your heart pumping rapidly after running up the stairs, this isn’t just a telltale sign that you are incredibly unfit –  it could also have far more serious implications. Your safest bet? Perform regular self-checks to make sure your heart rate is healthy.

So, what’s a healthy heart rate? If you’re unsure – the lower the heart rate, the better, and if your resting heart rate is between 60 and 100, you can rest easy. The best news? You don’t even need any special equipment to self-check your heart rate. You can quite simply just place one of your fingers on the inside of your wrist, and count for up to ten seconds. Whatever heartbeat count you get up to within those 10 seconds, multiply it by six. As long as the result is below 100, your heart rate is fine and dandy.

Self-Health Check #3: Check for Moles and Sunspots

If you ask the experts – no tan is worth dying for. In Claire Oliver’s case, her unchecked sun spots – which developed, notoriously, through frequent use of UV tanning beds – turned into melanoma. While tanning beds are now banned in Australia, it’s sadly too late for Claire. To this day, she remains a fatal reminder that you should always self-check your moles and sunspots.

Avoid being a melanoma fatality by regularly checking your body for any changes in the colour, size or shape of any moles, freckles, and beauty spots dotting your skin. The tell-tale signs to look out for? Any irregularities in appearance, or an especially rough, bumpy texture on the surface of the skin.

Self-Health Check #4:  Examine Your Privates (Yes, Really)

Admittedly, examining the health of your private parts can be awkward – but it’s necessary. For women, performing a routine check of your breasts could help you beat breast cancer, by identifying any odd lumps and bumps as early as possible. For men, a similar testes check could help intercept testicular cancer. On that note, be sure to also monitor your bowel movements. Irregularities could signal that something is seriously wrong.

However, self-health checks are not a replacement for annual check-ups with your doctor. If you notice anything abnormal, you may need to contact your GP to perform more in-depth checks as soon as possible.

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Freddie Gethin

Freddie Gethin, a Health and Wellness Specialist with a Doctorate in Medicine, focuses on medical research, public health trends, and wellness advice. His clinical experience and research background provide a foundation for his practical and scientifically backed health guidance, benefiting healthcare professionals and the general public.
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