If you want to be healthy it’s highly important to self-monitor. This applies even to those who feel and believe they are in good physical condition, since many undiagnosed health issues have no observable symptoms whatsoever.
That’s right, it’s more common than you might think to suffer from a particular health condition without even knowing it. So do look after your health and make sure you know where you stand when it comes to your weight, blood pressure, cholesterol and more.
Here are the things you should monitor to stay healthy and why.
It may sound obvious, but keeping a close eye on your weight should form an important part of your health monitoring. Maintaining a healthy weight is absolutely crucial for good health.
Being overweight will put you at an increased risk of various diseases include diabetes, certain cancers and heart disease, the latter of which remains the number 1 killer in the UK.
To see whether your weight is healthy, use this healthy weight calculator from NHS. This can be used to analyse weight for men, women or children.
While many people don’t like to use the scales (as they know they won't like the number staring back at them), don’t bury your head in the sand and avoid the truth. If the scales show more than you expected, take it as a wake-up call and motivation to drop those extra pounds.
If you think you are generally quite healthy and don’t need to weigh yourself, it’s still worth doing every once in a while, especially if you think you’ve gained some weight. Because when that weight gain happens, it’s sensible to address it before you gain even more, and before you get overweight.
A blood pressure test is a health check that can easily be done at your GP surgery, or you can also have it done at the pharmacy for free. This is a really important health check, especially if a high blood pressure condition runs in your family.
Knowing if you have high blood pressure is vital because the condition is linked to a wide range of serious health complications, including angina (chest pain), stroke, heart attack, heart failure and kidney disease.
This condition normally doesn’t come with any symptoms, and the only way of knowing if you have high blood pressure is by undergoing a test.
You should be aware that high blood pressure can happen at a younger age too, so don’t dismiss the test if you’re in your 20s. It doesn’t only happen to old people! In reality, it’s estimated that one in ten women in their 20s, and just over one in ten men aged 25-34 years, are affected.
If you are over 40, it’s recommended you have your blood pressure checked every 5 years or so; but it doesn’t do any harm to have it checked more often, just for the peace of mind and, of course, for the prevention of any health issues that come with high blood pressure.
High blood cholesterol is a significant risk factor for cardiovascular disease, so it’s really important to check your numbers and see whether you have to take action and make any changes with your diet or lifestyle.
There are many causes of high cholesterol, for example smoking, alcohol consumption and obesity.
You can also be diagnosed with high cholesterol if you are slim, as this is not something that only overweight individuals suffer from.
As you age, your cholesterol levels are likely to rise, but this can happen at any age, not only when you are older. Even children can have high cholesterol if their diet is poor!
So do make sure you get yourself tested and visit your GP; alternatively, order a cholesterol home test kit online using a private provider such as Medichecks.
Monitoring your moles
Skin cancer rates are on the rise so it’s more important than ever to pay attention to any changes that happen to your skin.
Check your moles regularly and if they change in shape, size or colour, it’s time to visit your doctor. It may also be worth visiting a private mole clinic as this will be a faster way of checking your moles than waiting for your doctor’s referral (it’s worth doing this also if you haven’t spotted any changes on your skin).
Vitamin D levels
Monitoring vitamin D levels in the blood is not something many people do but it’s something that shouldn't be ignored, especially in the UK where many people are vitamin D deficient.
Long-term vitamin D deficiency has been linked to the development of various illnesses such as heart disease and cancer, and in the UK we are all recommended to supplement during autumn and winter months.
You may struggle to get yourself tested for vitamin D deficiency at your GP, so it is best to get yourself tested privately using a vitamin D testing kit. When you want to top up your levels, a sublingual supplement such as those offered by Frunutta is ideal. The Vitamin D micro tablets comes in two strengths, 1,000 IU and 5,000 IU, and dissolve quickly under the tongue for better absorption.
If your doctor ever sends you for blood tests, don’t be afraid to ask for your blood glucose levels to be tested as well.
High glucose levels in your blood may indicate that you have diabetes or prediabetes and this can cause serious long-term health problems.
It’s more common to develop this condition if you are overweight, have a bad diet and live a sedentary lifestyle.
Diabetes can cause serious health problems such as loss of vision, kidney damage, heart disease and even blindness, so it’s important to get diagnosed early to begin the treatment.
We are lucky to live in this day and age when we can easily get ourselves tested for a variety of health conditions and issues.
Access to the NHS and private healthcare providers makes health monitoring so much easier for us. So don’t neglect these options and do make use of them for health checks like blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose levels.
And don’t forget about vitamin D testing and certainly not about your moles! You never know, careful health monitoring could prolong your life.
Petra Kravos is a healthy lifestyle blogger who runs one of the UK’s top health blogs, Be Healthy Now. Petra is extremely passionate about health and loves helping people on their healthy living journey. On her health blog, you will find a variety of topics, from natural health and healthy eating to fitness and natural living. You can follow Petra on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.