Written By Lewis Robinson / Reviewed By Ray Spotts
People are becoming more aware of how they can take charge of their overall health instead of waiting for things to go wrong before seeking care. This is great news since it is often much easier and less expensive to prevent a problem than it is to treat it once it arrives.
However, it isn't always easy to get a clear picture of where your health stands right now, which is critical for taking care of yourself. Use these tips to start assessing your current condition and find out where you should get started on the road to better health.
Schedule Diagnostic Blood Work
If you already have a regular doctor and go for an annual physical, you are ahead of many others. However, many primary care physicians hesitate to order some blood work.
In some cases, it may be because these tests are often not covered by insurance, and in others, it is simply that doctors aren't trained to look beyond the typical. This is one area where you may have to take charge.
Talk to your doctor about ordering a few basic functional medicine blood tests.
These can help diagnose hormone imbalances or problems with gut health. Since research is uncovering the diversity and breadth of roles played by the gut, more PCPs are realizing the potential for a connection there. You may also want to consider a health-focused genetic test panel to see where you are most likely to have trouble going forward.
Record and Monitor Your Measurements
You should know your basic measurements. This includes height, weight, and common circumference points, such as the waist and hips. Use a reliable scale to get an accurate number and record it in your health journal.
Update it at least once a month to monitor for any changes that could signal a bigger problem. For example, if your height starts decreasing, it could be a sign of bone loss or a spine disorder.
Beyond those basic measurements, it might also be a good idea to know a few other figures that can affect your health. These include:
- Blood sugar
- Blood pressure
- Resting heart rate
Check for Physical Fitness and Flexibility
If you are like most American adults, you live a fairly sedentary lifestyle. That can take its toll on your health. One way to find out if it is affecting your flexibility and range of motion is to do a quick reach test. While you may get the best results having this done by a physical therapist or trainer, it can also be done at home.
Flexibility isn't the only important marker of your physical fitness. You may realize additional benefits from doing a full battery of home fitness tests.
In about 30 minutes, you can check for strength in the upper body, lower body, and core, as well as determine cardiovascular endurance. This gives you an excellent baseline to compare your progress as you get stronger and more fit.
Have Your Vision and Hearing Screened
A lot of people put off vision and hearing screenings. Be sure to keep up with hearing exams to prevent or catch any hearing loss. Maybe you are concerned about what will turn up — who wants to find out they need glasses, right? — or maybe these services aren't covered by insurance. Regardless of why you haven't gotten them done recently, it's time to schedule a few screenings.
Assess Your Emotional Wellbeing
The stigma associated with mental health disorders is, thankfully, becoming a thing of the past. A wider acceptance has led to increased awareness of possible disorders that can affect your quality of life. Now is a great time to do a couple of at-home assessments to get a picture of your mental health.
Psychology Today offers a quick test for anxiety while this short depression screening can give you a heads up that there may be a problem. It is important to seek help from a trained professional if you are feeling overwhelmed or suspect a mental health disorder.
Congratulations on taking steps toward assessing your health. Get started by knowing your numbers, having some blood work performed, and completing basic assessments for common conditions.
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Lewis Robinson is a freelance writer and expert in health and fitness. When he isn’t writing he can usually be found reading a good book or hitting the gym.
Founder Ray Spotts has a passion for all things natural and has made a life study of nature as it relates to health and well-being. Ray became a forerunner bringing products to market that are extraordinarily effective and free from potentially harmful chemicals and additives. For this reason Ray formed Trusted Health Products, a company you can trust for clean, effective, and healthy products. Ray is an organic gardener, likes fishing, hiking, and teaching and mentoring people to start new businesses. You can get his book for free, “How To Succeed In Business Based On God’s Word,” at www.rayspotts.com.