- Blood pressure
A pressure of 120/80 and below is considered normal. If the upper reading (systolic pressure) is in the range of 120 to 129, then the pressure is high. And you should be on your guard because it often turns into hypertension, which is associated with the risk of developing atherosclerosis, heart attack, and stroke.
In the early stages of hypertension, there are no symptoms, so it is important to regularly measure blood pressure in order to notice changes in time. Do not postpone going to the doctor if it becomes elevated. And if your blood pressure rises to 180/120 and is accompanied by chest pain, difficulty breathing, numbness, weakness, vision, or speech problems, seek immediate medical attention.
It is worth monitoring your blood pressure more closely if you have blood group II, III, or IV. Studies have shown that these groups are associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease. In addition, it is important to know this in other cases, for example, if a blood transfusion is needed.
- Cholesterol level
Cholesterol is essential for the creation of cells in the body and other important processes, but too much of it is dangerous. Cholesterol plaques can begin to form on the walls of the arteries, which in turn leads to atherosclerosis.
To check your cholesterol levels, get tested once a year. Keep track of your “bad” (LDL) and “good” (HDL) cholesterol levels. The first should be no more than 2.6 mmol / L (100 mg / dL), and the second should be at least 1 mmol / L (40 mg / dL).
- Triglyceride level
This is the third factor to consider when monitoring the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Triglycerides, like “bad” cholesterol, are associated with the risk of plaque in the arteries and the development of atherosclerosis. So get tested regularly and consult your doctor.
Most are advised to do this every five years, but if you or your family members have diabetes or heart problems, check this number more often.
- The level of thyroid hormones
They affect many body systems, including metabolism. If the level of thyroid hormones is low, various unpleasant symptoms may occur difficulties with weight loss, loss of strength, “foggy” consciousness, forgetfulness, chills.
In addition, decreased levels of these hormones are associated with the risk of cardiovascular disease and the risk of mortality in general. Therefore, check them once a year and show the results to your therapist or endocrinologist.
- Condition of teeth
Plaque bacteria have been linked to coronary heart disease. Their presence causes platelets in the blood to form clots that block blood vessels and can cause inflammation of the heart valves.
People with periodontal disease (tissue surrounding the teeth) are more likely to suffer from heart attacks and strokes. There is also growing evidence that periodontitis can worsen diabetes, especially in those who smoke.
To reduce plaque build-up, remember to brush your teeth thoroughly twice a day, use mouthwash and floss, and visit your dentist once a year. If you have diabetes, it is best to be monitored every 3–6 months.
- Color and shape of moles
The more moles you have, the higher your risk of developing a malignant tumor in one of them. Examine yourself once a month for new growths, changes in the color or shape of moles, or an increase in their size.
You should be on your guard if you notice a sore that does not heal within three weeks or that it constantly itches, crusts, or bleeds. If you notice something like this, immediately consult a dermatologist.
- The curvature of the spine
It is worth checking if you have a curvature. Perhaps now it is small and not uncomfortable, but over time it can lead to chronic back pain, problems with mobility.
Have someone close to you examine your spine. Bend over and stretch to the floor, and let the observer check if one side of the chest is higher if the hips are symmetrically located.
In a standing position, pay attention to symmetry too: both shoulders and shoulder blades should be at the same level, and the back should not be too rounded.
If you notice signs of curvature, see your doctor. He will determine the degree of spinal deformity and select treatment options.
- Intensity of headaches
Headaches range from mildly annoying to completely unbearable. If they are accompanied by other symptoms, it can signal serious problems, including a brain tumor, high blood pressure, or stroke.
Begin to monitor when they occur and how they proceed. Write down in a regular notebook or in a special application the frequency and intensity of pain, their duration, which area of the head hurts, what symptoms are accompanied by it. Gradually, you will begin to notice what is causing the pain, and you can make lifestyle changes to reduce it.
If your head hurts more than once a week, see your doctor for the cause. If your headache is accompanied by symptoms such as loss of vision, facial nerve palsy, weakness in an arm or leg, or loss of the ability to speak or understand speech, seek immediate medical attention.
- Blood sugar
High blood glucose (hyperglycemia) causes inflammation in the body and damages the blood vessels. Over time, this can lead to cardiovascular disease and other health problems.
Indicators of 3.5–5.5 mmol / l (60–100 mg / dl) are considered normal. 11 mmol / L (200 mg / dL) and above is already a sign of type II diabetes.
Check your blood sugar once a year if you are prone to risk factors (age over 45, sedentary lifestyle, overweight, diabetes, or hypertension in a family member), every three years otherwise.
You can get tested at the clinic or buy a blood glucose meter and check your blood sugar at home. If your result is above 6 mmol / L, be sure to see your doctor. This applies to people of all ages, including children.
- Breast condition
This is primarily important for women, they should examine themselves once a month. All mammary glands have a slightly lumpy structure due to the unique location of adipose and fibrous tissue, milk-producing tissue, and lactiferous ducts. Those with more fat are softer and more uniform to the touch. Those with more lactogenic tissue and less fat are denser and uneven.
In women with uneven breast density or very dense cancers, it is more difficult to identify. If they suspect cancer, they should undergo an ultrasound in addition to mammography.
On self-examination, pay attention to lumps and visual changes (color, shape, skin pits, discharge). If the breast tissue has changed in any way, remember the stage of the menstrual cycle and the specific place in the breast where something seemed strange to you, and watch over the next weeks. But if you notice rapid changes (reddening of the skin, the appearance of sores, retraction of the nipple inward), do not postpone the visit to the doctor.
Breast cancer is rare in men, so you don’t need to check yourself that often. But if you notice the above-described signs (pits on the skin, persistent redness, induration, nipple discharge), contact a specialist for an examination.