In an ideal world, we would all have access to an affordable primary care system with a general practitioner, or family doctor, as their first point of contact and a range of independent specialists and hospitals providing the very best treatment if needs be. However, in many countries, the healthcare system falls short. There is often a lack of primary care, poor aftercare or simply that treatment is too expensive for people to access.
Whatever the state of the healthcare system in your country, there is a lot that you can do from home to monitor yours and your family’s health, especially if you check out a range of at home test reviews. These basic checks can help you to keep track of your health, monitor ongoing conditions and check symptoms. Here are just a few of them.
Take your temperature
The normal temperature for an adult is around 37° C (98.6° F) but this will vary according to age, time of day and which part of the body you take the temperature from. If it is much higher lower or this, it may indicate an infection or illness. Check it when you’re in good health so you know what’s normal for you and invest in a good thermometer for the most accurate reading.
This is an essential check that men should carry out regularly. It helps them to discover any lumps or swellings that could be an indication of cancer. Encourage the man in your life to check their testicles after a warm bath or shower and to consult a doctor if they feel an unusual lump or swelling or sharp pain.
It is vital that you are familiar with how your breasts look and feel at the different points of your menstrual cycle, as they can change. Most changes are not serious but it is important to look out for changes in the shape, for lumps and bumps, thickening and changes to the nipple or the skin as these could be a sign of cancer. It’s best to see a doctor as soon as possible if you notice any of these.
Checking your heart rate
Your resting heart rate first thing in the morning indicates your general wellness. What is normal is age and fitness dependent – check every morning for a week to learn your usual pulse rate. A change of 10 beats per minute (bpm) or more may mean you’re run down. Above 100 bpm could mean you’re stressed, dehydrated, excited or sick.
High blood pressure is a significant risk factor for strokes, heart attack, heart failure, and kidney disease. There is often no warning symptoms, so checking your blood pressure regularly is vital.
Normal blood pressure in adults is between 90/60 and 120/80 mmHg. If your blood pressure is high, you can help by cutting salt and alcohol intake, eating healthily, exercising, and keeping your weight down, but you should also seek medical advice.