Staying on top of your health should really go beyond seeing a doctor once a year, but it’s not always easy with our busy day-to-day lives, and not everyone has the luxury of a primary care system or a family doctor.
Whether or not you have any of these benefits, there are, in fact, many different health checks you can do right from the comfort of your own home. This short guide of self-checks can help keep track of your health and monitor any ongoing conditions and symptoms.
Testicular Cancer Checks
For men, regularly carrying out testicular self-checks is an important way for you to become aware and confident with what is normal for you, and so in the chance that something is different, you will notice. It is suggested at least once a month! One of the best times to perform the self-check is after a warm shower or bath - when you are most relaxed and comfortable.
By using your thumb and your index finger to feel on each testicle, you should be looking out for any hard lumps, swelling, hardness, pain or discomfort. It is worth knowing that even if something seems unusual or not normal, it is most likely NOT cancer, and you should not panic, but it is always recommended that you double-check with your general practitioner.
Breast Cancer Checks
Breast cancer is the most common cancer within the UK, one person is diagnosed with it every 10 minutes, and 1 in 8 women are likely to develop it in their lifetime. This is why it is so important to regularly perform this check at least once a month - it takes less than 5 minutes.
Carrying out regular checks on your breasts is important for you to become aware of the look and feel of your breasts during the menstrual cycle. Changes with breasts happen a lot and, for the most part, are not serious, but you should look out for changes in the outline or shape, for lumps, thickening or bumps and for any changes to the nipple or skin.
Again, you should not worry over small changes or unusual signs as it is most likely not cancer, but it is always worth checking up with your general practitioner.
Blood And Swab Tests
For a lot of us, we go to the doctors to get ourselves checked for diseases, illnesses, and any potential issues. But you can actually save yourself trips to the doctor by simply just performing it yourself with a wide range of home test kits - most of which offer more than 90% accuracy.
Commonly used blood testing kits can check for cholesterol levels, thyroid issues, allergies, blood pressure, and even HIV. Similarly, swab kits can reveal most urinary tract infections and strep, the bacterial throat infection. With any positive results, as always, take them to the doctor for further examination and advice.
Meningitis is a frightening disease, particularly in children, as it can develop quickly and be fatal. Knowing how and being able to spot the symptoms early on can be life-saving.
Common symptoms are flu-like feelings, neck stiffness, drowsiness, sensitivity to bright lights and occasionally a rash that doesn’t fade. As previously mentioned, being able to spot any of these as early on as possible is vital, and you should report straight to a doctor or general practitioner as soon as possible.
Checking Your Heart Rate
It may come as a surprise, but your heart rate can reveal a lot about your overall health and wellbeing. Checking your heart first thing in the morning gives you a good indication of your general wellness. Of course, like all things, it varies depending on your diet and fitness but simply checking each morning to learn your usual heart rate will allow you to notice any irregularities in the future.
To do so, place a finger on the inside of your wrist whilst rested and count your pulse rate for 10 seconds, then multiply the result by six. The fitter and healthier you are, the lower the number should be.
Another heart-related check to also perform at the same time is to check your heart rhythm. This isn’t the case of your heart skipping a beat, but instead a constant irregular heartbeat rhythm; by doing this, you could potentially prevent the future risk of a stroke.
There are plenty of self-checks to perform from home and many more outwith of this article, be sure to do as many as you can to catch any problems early on before they develop.
As always, though, if you are in any doubt and want indefinite results, go to a doctor or your general practitioner, and they will be sure to help you.