Home Health Tests
Not every cough and sniffle calls for a visit to the doctor’s office, nor does every scrape and burn necessitate an expensive trip to the emergency room. In most cases you can tell if a home remedy will do the trick or if professional medical care is advisable, but you will certainly have occasions where you’re just not sure if the symptoms will pass or if you need professional help.
Many people would probably appreciate having ways to determine their relative state of health between annual physicals or check-ups in order to see if they need additional care or alternately, if their efforts to improve health and fitness are paying off. So here are just a few simple health tests that you can perform on your own at home to check yourself out.
Fevers are indicative of an infection, or rather, they are the result of your body fighting an infection. In most cases there is no cause for concern. Although a fever will make you feel pretty awful, the majority are low-grade and break within a matter of hours or just a couple of days.
However, there may be extreme scenarios in which you require hospitalization with a fever, such as an unusually high temperature (103 degrees Fahrenheit or greater), an extended fever (lasting longer than a week), or accompanying symptoms like excessive vomiting (leading to dangerous dehydration), chest or abdominal pain, confusion or hallucinations, or any other symptoms that seem serious. Taking your temperature with an inexpensive home thermometer can give you a quick gauge of the severity of a fever.
Studies show that your resting heart rate can offer you an early warning of your risk for heart attack. The average adult heart should beat about 60 times per minute. This rate indicates optimum health and extremely low risk for heart attack. But once your pulse gets over about 75 beats per minute your risk for heart attack rises significantly.
Luckily, testing your resting heart rate is easy. All you have to do is sit and relax for a few minutes and then take your pulse (at your wrist or throat). If the number is high, it may be time to talk to your doctor.
High or low blood pressure can be to blame for a number of symptoms that range from annoying to potentially deadly. Those on the low end of the spectrum may experience fatigue, dizziness, and fainting, while high blood pressure can be to blame for headaches and even strokes. But if you purchase a blood pressure cuff and learn how to read it (you can find them on Amazon for about ten bucks and there are tons of tutorials online that will show you how to use one), you can track your own blood pressure to determine if it might be playing a role in your symptoms.
Your body mass index is not exactly easy to calculate, but it’s certainly not rocket science. To start, measure your weight (in pounds) and height (in inches). Now divide you weight by your height squared. So if you are 60 inches tall (five feet) and you weigh a hundred pounds, for example, your equation would be 100/60×60, or 100/3600, resulting in an answer of 0.028. You will then multiply this number by 703 (called the conversion factor), which will result in your body mass index (in this case about 19.7).
So what does this number mean? In general, you want the number to fall in the 18.5 to 25 range as this is considered to be the healthiest weight for your height. If your calculation comes out below 18.5 or above 25, you could be at an unhealthy weight (although you may want to talk to your doctor for further information).
(Note from the editor: this post is essentially a guest post. Project Swole does not support BMI in the slightest. BMI is a joke and does not reflect a measure of healthiness in anyone who has more muscle mass than the average person. Instead, you want to use body fat percentage to determine how much fat you are holding on your body with respect to non-fat tissue. This can be calculated using either calipers or an electronic hand-held tool.
Granted, this type of home health test only applies to about half of the population, but as home test kits go, this one is pretty popular. Although you will probably want to go to the doctor eventually if your test is positive, a negative result could save you an unnecessary trip.