DIY health checks that you can easily do at home

By: Sep 10, 2012
DIY health checks

Skin, eye, fingernail or other body abnormalities are all a good reason to check in with your doctor.

While there is no substitution for a check-up with your doctor, there are some tests that you can perform at home. These tests may prompt you to get to the doctor sooner than your scheduled check-up. Best of all, they can each be done in a minute or less!

Waist Circumference
We all know that we should be watching our weight and are well aware when the scales start to tip unfavourably. But do you know that abdominal fat is more dangerous than other types of fat (such as hips, thighs and butt fat)? Use a tape measure and measure both your waist and hip circumference. Divide the waist measurement by the hip measurement. Your result should be 0.8 or lower. If it is higher, you are in a higher risk category for heart disease, certain types of cancer and type 2 diabetes. Schedule a visit with your doctor.

Okay, so we all know that we are supposed to floss daily. If you are one of the few who do, you should probably have healthy gums. However, if your daily flossing routine is causing excessive bleeding (and you know you aren’t flossing too aggressively), you may have an infection or worse – heart disease. Ask your doctor.

Inspect Your Fingernails
Fingernails should be clear and strong. There are a number of health concerns that could be attributed to unhealthy-looking fingernails. Brittle nails could indicate a vitamin or mineral deficiency. Worse, discoloured nails could also be a sign of a hormonal imbalance, a thyroid problem or anemia. Go see a doctor to get this cleared up.

What Colour Is Your Urine?
Urine is normally a little darker in the morning. In general, though, it should be clear or light yellow. If it’s dark yellow or reddish, see a doctor immediately. This could mean anything from an infection to liver problems.

Check Out Your Skin
Skin cancer is alarmingly common amongst young women. Fortunately, if it is caught early, it is relatively easy to treat. Inspect your skin for irregular moles, freckles or skin lesions. If you notice a mole is getting bigger, it’s probably time to get to your dermatologist. If a mole is asymmetrical, is patchy or uneven in colour, has an irregular border or is wider than ¼ inch in diameter, it should be checked out by a dermatologist.

Inspect Your Eyes
Eyes are more than windows to the soul; they can provide an indicator to your health. Red and watery eyes may indeed indicate an allergic reaction or lack of sleep, but it could also be a sign of a herpes outbreak or an infection. A slight yellow tinge in the whites of your eyes could mean that you’ve been overexposed to ultraviolet light without protective glasses.

None of these tests are meant to diagnose an illness or medical condition – leave that to your doctor. Your body usually gives you clear signals when something is amiss and you should listen to those signals. Skin, eye, fingernail or other body abnormalities are all a good reason to check in with your doctor.