Annual health checkups are recommended for those above the age of 40. This does not mean that people below 40 years of age are devoid of any health problems and those above 40 need not take any action from their side to check out on their health status. Some simple and doable tests at home can help you uncover serious health issues without the need of sucking blood for some test or going to the lab.
Balance your weight on one leg: Try to stand on one leg for at least 60 seconds with your eyes open. If you start losing balance just after 20 seconds, it implies that you are at a serious risk of brain problems in the future.
Stand between your sitting schedule: Sitting for prolonged hours can even kill you. Take standing breaks with this chair-to-stand test 10 times and find how much time it takes to do the task. In this test the individual stands up from the sitting position of the chair and again sits down completely. Before performing this test, the individual rests the chair against a wall for stability, crosses the arms at the wrist and keeps it close to the chest before standing up from the chair. In one study conducted, adults who were able to do 10 reps in 21 seconds or less witnessed overall increase in survival rates than those who took longer time to complete the exercise. Completing the test within a specified time requires an individual to be adept at muscle strength, balance, power, cardiorespiratory fitness and coordination. Decreased performance outputs indicate the presence of some disease even before you get any symptoms for the same.
Touch your toes: Sit on the floor with your back rested against a wall and your legs stretched. Bend forward and try touching your toes without bending your knees. If you are unable to do so and your hands are far away from your toes, it indicates that you are at a risk for cardiovascular problems and that your arteries are less elastic. Stiff arteries are a sign that the heart must work harder to pump blood which puts your body at an increased risk for heart attack or stroke.
Where are your moles: Determine if your mole is harmful or not using the ABCDEs test which stands for asymmetry, border, color, diameter and evolving. Check out your mole’s shape when you notice one initially-when both halves of the mole are equal, there is no problem but when it looks irregular it is better to get it checked. Also, the color of the mole should be the same on all sides and the mole should not increase in size/shape gradually. If you notice any deviations from normal, get in touch with your physician.
Talk/sing while climbing stairs: Many health physicians recommend individuals to climb stairs instead of taking the elevator. Sing a song or chat with your friend while climbing up. If you go out of breath or you are unable to talk/sing while climbing, it is better to meet your physician as it may indicate a cardiovascular problem or lung disorder. Breathlessness can be an indication of asthma, bronchitis or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Read more on COPD at www.firsteatright.com. This test is one of the best ones to get multiple doubts about your health cleared in one shot!
Poke a pencil to your feet: Numbness in feet is one not-so-popular diabetes symptom that is difficult to realize by oneself. Ask you family member/friend to do this pencil test and ensure that you look away when this test is performed. Only then will you be able to precisely tell whether you really felt the pencil poke or not. If you are not able to feel the prick of a sharp object in your toes, it might be an indication of nerve damage.
Try to balance a paper on the back of your hand: While slight hand tremors are an indication of Parkinson’s disease, it can also be due to other conditions such as vitamin deficiencies, hormone problems or more. To realize the intensity of your trembling hands, place a piece of paper over the back of your hands as you stretch your hands in front of you. This will allow you to check for tremors.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.