Saturday, September 25

Head-to-Toe Health Checks that Are Often Overlooked

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Managing one’s health has become increasingly important and while we may not always take the time to make our health a top priority, it is important to seek medical attention when we feel that our health is at risk. While most will turn to the internet to diagnose an ailment, it is important to seek medical advice when you are not sure of your symptoms or if the symptoms worsen. Here are a few head-to-toe health checks we should all be doing on a regular basis to stay in good health.

Get rid of the scratch in your eyes

eyes

The air has become increasingly dry and the winter winds carry dust, dry grass particles and smoke, which can lead to one’s eyes feeling irritated, scratchy and red. Ocular allergies are often treatable with over the counter treatments. While these can be effective, it is important to get an accurate diagnosis from an eye care professional. This will also help to rule out chronic eye diseases such as glaucoma and any permanent ophthalmology related illnesses.

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Keep your ticker ticking

heart rate check

Also read: Buyer’s Guide: 3 Best First-Aid Kits

The term ‘heart failure’ is often misconstrued as being interchangeable for a heart attack, but there are important distinctions between the two. A heart attack happens suddenly when an artery that supplies the heart muscle becomes blocked, restricting blood flow to the heart. Heart failure usually develops over a period of time due to a weakened heart muscle which leads to the reduced function of the heart to pump blood to the body. While heart failure may start suddenly (acute heart failure) it can also be ongoing which is what is referred to as chronic heart failure. If you experience sudden shortness of breath, chest pain or wheezing, extreme fatigue and weakness or rapid weight gain, it would be advisable to seek immediate medical attention.

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Stay on top of your blood glucose levels

blood sugar levels

Diabetes is a disease that occurs when your blood glucose is too high.  This disease may affect the whole body, potentially causing damage to the heart, brain, kidneys, peripheral circulation and eyes. It may also be severe enough to result in organ failure as well as causing severe eye disease which may cause blindness. Many patients will not experience any symptoms, but some may develop extreme thirst, unusual infections, rapid weight loss or gain, dry skin or blurry vision.

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Take care of your body’s largest organ… your skin

psoriasis

One skin condition that is often overlooked is psoriasis. Characterised by inflamed, flaky and red skin it is often mistaken for a bad rash, an allergic reaction or eczema. But in fact, psoriasis is an autoimmune skin condition that is caused by the rapid growth of skin cells and in turn causes dry, itchy, flaky and occasionally small painful tears and bumps on the skin. Areas that are most likely to be affected are the scalp, elbows, knees and lower back.

Symptoms of psoriasis vary depending on the type of psoriasis but could include itchy and painful scales on the skin that can sometimes crack and bleed in severe cases. Some patients may develop small pink-spots on the skin, that largely appear on the torso, arms and legs; white, pus-filled blisters and wide areas of red, inflamed skin, that traditionally appears in smaller areas of the body, such as the hands and or feet, but can appear in other areas. Bright areas of red, shiny, inflamed skin, that develops under armpits or breasts, the groin and around skinfolds in the genital area may also be seen in psoriasis.

psoriasis

Given the complexity, and potential broader health implications; if you are concerned that you might have psoriasis, please see your doctor. Often the earlier treatment is started, the easier it is to manage. There are also a wide range of over-the-counter health aids to assist in managing the symptoms of psoriasis at home.

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Whether you’re taking care of your eyes, heart or skin, good lifestyle choices, including a healthy diet, are at the centre of overall wellness. This is not always easy considering our busy lifestyles, however, the repercussions of an unhealthy lifestyle can cause prolonged illnesses that are incurable and financially burdensome to manage.

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