How To Become Your Own Doctor
Monitoring your health status can help you watch your health conditions closely. Here are some parameters you need to pay special attention to so that better health alerts can be given the appropriate attention.
Check your hairbrush.
If you are having problem with hair’s falling out, you should have your doctor run labs to check the levels of blood ferritin which is an indication of how well your body stores iron. Low levels of blood ferritin may explain the causes of hair loss but it could also be a common cause of thyroid disease.
Check your cardiovascular condition.
Request your doctor to perform a complete cardiovascular screening assessment (for future stroke and heart risk), if you are over 40 years old. In case you have a strong family record of stroke or heart disease, you should request this assessment even if you are below 40 years old.
Your blood cholesterol needs to be measured along with other assessments in your smoking status, ECG results, blood pressure, and blood glucose level. It is incorrect to only measure your cholesterol levels as you might have missed other risk factors. In other words, a normal cholesterol level does not necessary mean that your overall cardiovascular risk is also normal. To further understand your cardiovascular condition, seek your doctor’s advice.
After you exercise, check your heartbeat
A research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association has discovered that females who have poorer heart rate recovery (HRR) after exercise were reported to have a doubled risk of developing a heart attack within 10 years as compared to those who had normal HRR.
So, next time, after exercise such as a strenuous 20-minute jogging or a walk, check your heartbeat. Do this by counting your heartbeat for 15 seconds immediately afterwards, and then multiply your result by 4 to get your heart rate. Then, sit down and wait for 2 minutes before checking again. Subtract the second result from the first one. If the number is below 55, it means your HRR is higher than normal and you should consult your doctor immediately.
Examine your body naked every 2-3 months
Conduct a head-to-toe skin check with the help of your partner or a close friend looking for any suspicious rashes, spots, new moles and even changed moles. While conducting this examination, be sure to check between your toes and fingers, the underside of your arms and also your scalp. (Note: If you are suspicious of anything you came across, check with your doctor.)
Now, do the ABCD test while checking moles. Watch for any possible danger signs as stated below:
Asymmetry (A): the two halves don’t match either.
Border irregularity (B): the edges are jagged.
Color (C): Uneven and different shades of brown, pink or black could be distinguished.
Diameter (D): more than 6mm.
If you are a diabetic, check your feet everyday.
If you have diabetes, checking your feet should be part of your daily routine. Diabetics are more susceptible to foot damage so they should check their feet carefully for any fungus, peeling skin, bruises, cuts or blisters. The reason is that those with diabetes often experience nerve damage in extremities such as the feet. So, the daily self-examination will tell how good your blood sugar is maintained and will also give you critical clues to the condition of your nerve damage.
Keep a mental color chart of your urine
Yes, keep a mental color chart of how dark your urine is. This may sound odd to you, but it is indeed a wonderful health indicator. In general, your urine should appear clear or a straw color. If your urine smells too strong or is darker, it means you are not getting enough fluids. If after you increase the fluid intake, you still have darker urine then you should make an appointment to see your doctor. If you have a bright yellow one, it might be caused by the B vitamins in your multivitamin supplements.
Watch for your sleepiness.
There are three indicators to tell if you have adequate amount of sleep. First, you feel drowsy to the point that affects what you are doing. Second, you doze off shortly after having your dinner. Third, you need an alarm clock to wake you up in the mornings. If you answer “yes” to any of these questions that means you are not getting enough sleep. In case you have 8-hour of sleep but still feel sleepy, you should consult your doctor.
Check If you day has been full of healthy activities.
Basically, there are four things you should do to ensure you are living healthily. First consider the amount of veggies and fruits you ate that day (preferably the fresh but not the canned one). Second, you had at least 15-20 minutes fun time and laughter for yourself. Third, you had enough high-fiber foods, beans and grains in your meals. Forth, you walked and stayed physically active. If you did well on these four things, congratulations, your day had been very healthy.
Note: This should exclude activities such as eating candy/junk food, drinking, watching TV, smoking and so forth.
After you turn 50 years old, have your height measured daily.
This is particularly essential for females as a method of examining their skeletal and posture health. A decline in stature can be an indicative of a change in bone density which may affect your overall bone health. If you are worried, talk to your doctor.
Monitor your blood pressure in every 6 months.
Using a home blood pressure monitor, check your blood pressure or, you can go to a clinic and have your blood pressure checked. If your bottom number is higher than 90 (80 for diabetics) and your top number is higher than 140 (130 for diabetics), wait for a day, and have your blood pressure checked again. If your blood pressure is still too high, you should make an appointment with your doctor right away!
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