While regular check‐ups with your GP are recommended, there are simple health checks you can do at home in between visits. By taking just a few minutes out of your day, week or month to do the following health self‐checks you can learn to recognise if something is out of the ordinary. After all, you know your body better than anyone else and will be able to identify any concerns to discuss with your doctor.
Skin check – Schedule a skin self‐check every three months for any new or unusual moles or freckles and consult your healthcare professional if you find anything abnormal.1 This is a good test to do when applying your moisturiser.
Breast self‐exam – It’s recommended that adult women of all ages perform a breast self‐check at least once a month.2 This allows you to become familiar with how your breasts look and feel so you can alert your healthcare professional if you discover any changes. This check‐up can be carried out in the shower, in front of the mirror or even when lying in bed.
Weight check – Are your waist bands getting a little tighter? It might be time to check your diet or exercise program as extra weight that parks itself around the midsection can be a key player in many long term health problems.
Fingernail inspection – Our nails can often reveal clues about our health. For example pale nail beds and white spots can sometimes indicate a vitamin or mineral deficiency and changes in nail texture such as brittleness, splitting, pitting or ridges may indicate changes in health status. Stress check – Check in with your emotional state regularly. Are you feeling irritable and snapping at your loved ones? Are you eating for comfort rather than because you’re hungry? Does it take you longer than half an hour to fall asleep or do you wake regularly throughout the night? Are your muscles tense? These symptoms can be warning signs of stress overload and may mean you need to take a little extra care of yourself.
Toilet habits – You should have a bowel movement every day but if you’re regularly going two to three days without one you might need to increase your fibre and water intake or be more active. Also check the colour of your urine. Urine should be clear or light in colour. Very dark urine usually means you aren’t drinking enough water and may be dehydrated.