The secret to a happy and healthy life is simple. However, with the high levels of work stress that people are subjected to these days, things aren’t as simple anymore. For several individuals it becomes more and more difficult to find out time for taking care of their health, let alone go to the doctor for the one-odd regular health check up. But if the old adage is to be believed, you must find a way to work around it and prevent those diseases taking you by surprise. Yes, we are talking about the do-it-yourself at home health check ups. There are some simple health checkups that you can do at home without spending too much time or effort. These will help you look for early signs of any lifestyle related or work related diseases and help you maintain your health more proactively.
1. Measuring your heart rate and rhythm
The rate at which your heart beats and pumps blood through your body is called the heart rate or more commonly the pulse rate. Arrhythmia or abnormal heart rate is a condition in which your heart doesn’t have a normal heart rate. It affects millions without even their knowledge! Although not directly a cause for concern, it causes fainting, pain in the chest and in some cases may even lead to heart failure.
In order to measure your heart rate, you check your wrist pulse. You can do this by simply putting two fingers on the thumb side of your palm. Alternatively you can place your index and third finger on your neck beside the windpipe. Keep time using a watch and count the number of pumps in 20 seconds. Three times this number will give your current heart rate. The normal pulse is 60-85 beats, which may be slightly lower for athletes at 40-60 beats, or higher for children. If the beats are very fast or very slow or irregular it may be a symptom of illness which you may want to follow up with a doctor.
2. Measuring iron deficiency
Iron is a vital nutrient that should be present in the body in adequate amounts to facilitate healthy red blood cells and their ability to carry oxygen to rest of the body by helping producing hemoglobin. Low levels of iron may cause iron deficiency and result in a condition commonly known as anemia. Anemia will cause you to be weak, have a pale skin and reduce the oxygen carrying capability of your blood and thus put stress on your heart.
To find out if you are deficient in iron or not, you can do a simple test. Check for pale or yellow skin, mostly on your palm creases, mouth gums or nails. You should also look for any irregularities in your heartbeat, or check for uneven breathing in your lungs.
3. Check-up for wheezing
Wheezing refers to the abnormal noise made while breathing. It is usually a high pitching noise that is comparable to a whistling sound. It is caused majorly in case of narrow airways in the lungs and is often considered to be a symptom for diseases such as asthma, bronchitis or even pneumonia or other airway related disorders.
To check for wheezing, carefully examine your phlegm or sputum. If the coloration is greenish or yellow or even brownish it may be caused by some bacterial infestation. Clear and sticky might indicate asthma. Apart from that, if you experience short breathe when doing some exercises you may have asthma. You should get yourself checked.
4. Checking your blood sugar
Blood sugar levels are critical to one’s health and an imbalance may end you up with diabetic conditions. Diabetes results out of the body’s inability to make or use enough insulin to process blood sugar in the blood stream and also in the cells. You must be regular in testing and keeping a tab on the level of blood sugar to prevent any complications in the future.
You have a higher risk of diabetes if you are over 45 years of age, obese or have a majorly sedentary lifestyle. Chances of diabetes also increase if your family has a history of diabetics. You can test yourself using a glucometer. Using a sterile instrument get a drop of your blood and place it on the test strip of the glucometer to get a reading. Normal levels are between 70 to 99 milligrams per dL. Make sure you do the test in the morning before eating anything.
5. Measuring your waist size
Extra fat around your waist can be more cause for concern than just your looks. The abdominal fat increases your chances of getting into health problems such as type 2 diabetes or hypertension, in some cases may also lead to stroke. The easiest way to find out your waist size is by taking a tape and measuring the width and circumference of your waist.
In case of females, a waist size of 32 inches or 80 cms may raise your chances of heart disease or diabetes. Anything greater than 35 inches is to be considered risky and measures must be taken to correct or control it. In case of men, 37 inches or 94 cms put them in a risky zone while anything greater than 40 inches is dangerous and must be controlled immediately.