Who knows about the best eating habits better than our loyal dieticians or personal trainers? Who has the best money tips other than marketing gurus and tax lawyers? And who would you want tips from about planning your upcoming summer wedding or big 30th birthday party other than an experienced event planner? That’s right, these experts are not only masters in their fields, but they also have pockets filled with tips and hints on how to live your best life. Each month, we will sit down with a specialist and ask them to give us 5 of the most common, disregarded, unique or even never heard before tips related to their field, and keep you guys as healthy, informed and aware as possible. PS: Please let us know if there are any experts you’re particularly interested in reading about, and we’ll make sure to add them on to our newest “Ask the expert” column for our next chat!
Staying on top of your health, no matter your age should be on top of your health goals in addition to seeing your doctor at least once a year. You would be surprised to hear that many health problems are first noticed at home and not at the doctor’s office, which is why we’ve sat down with one of our trusted doctors, to talk about which quick health check ups you can easily do at home and why they’re essential.
Nobody likes a bad health surprise, so in order to help you do your own health check ups at home, we’ve asked Camille, a GP, to tell us what the 5 easiest health check ups are.
1. “Don’t be shy to take your temperature”
There’s no obvious reason you should check your temperature every day but it’s always a good idea to do a basic temperature check just to see if you are healthy. This way, you can keep record of your standard temperature and be aware of any spikes and dips. Better yet, if you notice something different, it will speed up the analysis process at the doctors. “The usual 37 degree temperature is considered the normal body temperature, but don’t be alarmed if it ranges from 36.5 and 37.4,” explains Camille. Avoid checking it after a big workout, or when you are on a specific diet as it might have an effect on your body temperature.
2. “Check your skin on a regular basis”
I know this isn’t something you’ll want to hear, but skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the UK for people aged between 15-34. Although over 80% of skin cancers are due to bad sun protection and UV light exposure, there are a few ways you can be extra observant of your body to spot any changes. Research show that patients are more likely to spot melanomas before their physician.
“You ideally need to check your moles once or twice a month, especially if you have fair skin or have a family history of skin cancer. Take time to look at your body in the mirror, especially your neck, shoulders, chest and arms but don’t forget the little hidden spots of your body such as your fingernails and toes. If you want to be even more confident you’re doing the right checks, ask a friend or partner to take pictures”, tells us Camille. Same goes for other forms of cancer, as for example testicular cancer and breast cancer checks. “Make sure you go to your doctor if you feel any lumps or strange sensations. I always recommend doing it after a shower, and if you do it on a regular basis there are higher chances you’ll know your body well and spot anything different right away”.
3. “A simple body fat check is one of the best ways to diagnose your health”
This one is very simple and will only take 2 minutes of your time. Self-checking your body fat around your belly is not something you do to particularly lose weight or check on your diet, but measuring your body fat can help identify serious medical conditions such as heart diseases and diabetes. Camille says that “all you need to do is wear a string or a tape around your waist on a monthly basis to check if there is any increase or accumulation of body fat. If there is, check the following month to see if there is an obvious increase, and if there is, go to your local GP to get it checked”.
4. “Love your heart”
Although this might be surprising to a few of you, a heart rate can actually reveal a lot about your body and overall health. “No matter the age of my patients, I always ask them to test their resting heart rate by placing their finger on the inside of their wrists for 10 seconds. The average healthy rate is between 60 and 100 beats per minute. But if patients are trying a new diet, exercising more and wanting to make their hearts stronger, I’ll also ask them to record their heart rate during a big effort, at the gym for example. That way they’ll be able to see the progress but also report back to me”.
Catching any abnormalities in your heartbeat can potentially prevent the risk of a stroke or any other heart related conditions. So if you find the rhythm irregular, or not able to properly measure your heart rate from your wrist, seek a doctor right away.
5. “Always listen to your mom: brush your teeth!”
In order to prevent gum disease, there are plenty of things you can already do at home before hitting the dentist. “If you have healthy gums and teeth, you shouldn’t be experiencing any random bleeding. I always tell my patients not to joke around with their teeth, because gum disease is a much more common illness than people think, and it can lead to loss of teeth, a lot of discomfort and even lung infections” explains Camille.
Freaked out yet? I surely was, but all you need to do to take care of your mouth, is literally everything your mom (most likely) taught you as a kid. Brush your teeth after each meal for about two minutes, floss on a daily basis, use the right toothpaste (that has the right amount of fluoride), avoid smoking and cut down your sugar intake.
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