Of many pathologies are detected too late and can thus have dramatic consequences. Indeed, certain warning signs exist and can alert, but they are often ignored. This may be due in particular to the fact that more and more French people are abandoning the doctor.
Indeed, since 2017, the number of general practitioners continues to decline. According to a June 2021 conference of the Cnam (National Health Insurance Fund), 11% of those over 17 have no attending physicians. If some change doctors every time, others don’t go there at all.
Health authorities recommend going to the doctor at least once a year. However, according to a survey conducted by Opinionway for Medaviz in 2018, only 83% of French people say they go to their general practitioner at least once a year. They are therefore 17% not to respect this advice.
This distance between patients and healthcare professionals is worrying, because many diseases that can be detected early are not. It is for this reason that it is important to pay attention.
General practitioner Zoe Watson told Sun Health media: “The old adage “knowledge is power” certainly applies when it comes to taking care of our body and mind. The more you understand how things should be, the more you will listen when things aren’t right.”
The expert shared 9 health checkups you can simply do from home, provided you are careful. These should alert you and encourage you to consult a healthcare professional.
Monitor blood pressure
For Dr. Watson, the first important thing to monitor is blood pressure.
“Blood pressure tends to increase as we agebut if it is persistently high, it may increase your risk of heart disease, kidney disease and stroke. Therefore, detecting and treating it early can have a significant positive impact”she explains.
For this, the expert recommends buying an electronic blood pressure monitor in order to monitor your blood pressure at home on a regular basis. The French Federation of Cardiology estimates thatnormal blood pressure is 120/80. Zoe Waston believes thatAbove all, do not exceed 140/90. From this measurement, we speak of high blood pressure. The French Federation of Cardiology estimates that, for a self-measurement, we speak of arterial hypertension from 135/851.
“Check a few times throughout the day to get a good average measurement. If you notice that you are getting results that are consistently above 140/90, talk to your GP,” recommends the expert.
Check heart rate
The heart rate is also a very good indicator of your state of health. In effect, irregular heartbeats can be a sign of a heart problem such as heart failure, cardiomyopathy, coronary artery disease, arrhythmia or the warning sign of a heart attack.
Zoe Watson explains that to get her heart rate, it is necessary to count the beats for 30 seconds, then double that number, which gives the heart rate.
“If you notice that your heart is constantly beating above 100 bpm or below 40 bpm, have it checked by your GP. Skipping beats or not beating regularly are also signs that you need to see a doctor”, warns the expert.
Take care of your eyes
If it is important to take care of your eyes to see well, these are also indicative of your general health. “Normal vision must not be blurry, have blackheads or double vision. Each of these changes requires medical investigation. In some cases, it could be a sign of something serious, such as a stroke, brain tumor, or diabetes”, she explains.
Beyond your vision, the very appearance of your eyes should alert. “The reddening of the whites of the eyes may indicate infection or inflammation. If the whites turn very yellow, this may indicate jaundice and requires medical investigation”, warns the specialist. In each of these cases, it is then important to go to a health professional.
Even if you detect no problems with your eyes or vision, the doctor recommends going to the optician every two yearsas advised by health authorities.
Pay attention to your hearing
Hearing is also to be monitored to ensure that you are in good health. “If you noticed changes in your hearingit’s best to get a formal test through your GP,” she adds.
The accumulation of earwax is one of the causes of hearing loss according to the specialist. “The ears are a self-cleaning organ and earwax helps keep them clean and hygienic. Don’t put cotton swabs in there, they just push the wax further into the ear. It may cause the wax to get stuck and impacted, and you might feel like you can’t hear properly”, she explains.
She recommends using drops of olive oil to soften the wax, and seeing a doctor. if it lasts longer than a week.
Feeling your body to prevent a serious health problem
Breast cancer mainly affects women, but if male cases are rare, they still exist. No matter your gender, the expert recommends performing a self-examination of the breasts once a month.
“Know the normal shape and texture of your breasts is the best way to notice any changes”, she explains.
“Look at your breasts and touch each breast and each armpit, down to your collarbone. It may be easier to do this in the shower or bath”, advises the expert.
The expert recommends consulting a general practitioner if you notice any of the following:
- a change in size;
- contour ;
- the shape of your breast;
- a change in appearance ;
- a change in the feel of the skin of your breast;
- a skin rash or redness ;
- a new mass;
- a swelling ;
- a lumpy area in a breast ;
- an armpit that wasn’t there before;
- Where a new discharge of fluid from one of your nipples.
For men, the doctor also advises to practice an examination of the testicles at the same frequency. “Do this about once a month in the shower when the scrotum is relaxed from the hot water. Gently feel each testicle between finger and thumb, checking for lumps or changes in size and texture. Any change must be reported to your general practitioner”, explains the expert.
Watch your skin
Public Health France lists approximately 80,000 cases of skin cancer each year. This cancer, caught early, can easily be cared for. Moreover, there is a very easy way to detect it at an early stage, and that is watching your skin.
“As for moles, you must be aware of your ABCDE: asymmetry, border, color, diameter, evolution. Any mole that has changed color, shape or size or has started to bleed/become painful should be examined by a medical professional”, she specifies.
The expert also recommends: “If you have a lot of moles, take photos of it to track any changes. A photo every six months is enough.”
Don’t Ignore Snoring
Few individuals worry about their snoring, and indeed, in most cases, the cause is benign. However, it can also be a sign of sleep apnea, what increases your risk of stroke, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, depression and other conditions.
“If your bedmate complains that you snore loudly and have big pauses in your breathing, this may need to be looked into, especially if you are very sleepy during the day”, she explains.
“If your sleep is constantly interrupted, it may be worth talking to your doctor”, concludes the expert.
Analyze your stool
If the idea can be disgusting, observing one’s stools is in reality indicator of your state of health. “Search any sign of blood or mucus, as well as any change in how often you go to the bathroom. For instance, if you suffer from persistent diarrhea or constipation, if you notice anything new or unusual, it is always best to talk to your GP about it”, explains Zoe Watson.
Pay attention to your waistline
The weight also plays a big role in your health. In fact, maintaining a healthy weight reduces the risk of cancer, heart disease, stroke or even type 2 diabetes. According to the expert, the waist should be less than half your height.
To calculate your waist circumference, Zoe Watson explains: “Measure your height in centimeters, then do the same for your height. Divide your waist circumference by your height and if the number you get is between 0.4 and 0.5, you are in a healthy range.” If not, it may be advisable to see a healthcare professional.
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