Self-Checks to Do at Home
| 4 min read
- Heart rate: A heart rate is an easy thing to self-check. The average heart beats 60 to 100 times a minute at rest. Your heartbeat should be a regular rhythm and not “skip” beats. Harvard Medical School offers easy ways to check a heart rate:
- Lightly press the index and middle fingers of one hand on the opposite wrist, near the base of the thumb.
- Lightly press the side of the neck, just below the jawbone
- Using either method, count the beats for 15 seconds. Multiply by four to find the heart rate.
- Blood pressure: Blood pressure is a health indicator, so regular blood pressure screenings can alert people to problems. Normal blood pressure is less than 120/80. Notify your physician if your blood pressure is elevated.
- Testicular cancer: Monthly self-checks for lumps or irregularities should be paired with an annual check by a doctor.
- Skin checks: Monthly self-checks for any changes to skin on the face, neck, back and the rest of the body can provide early detection. For best results, use a mirror or a family member to assist. The American Cancer Society shares tips on how to do skin checks on its website.
- Blood sugar: People with diabetes should be doing regular blood sugar tests, as directed by their doctor.
- Breast self-awareness: Women should be aware of how their breasts normally look and feel. It is important to notify a physician if any changes occur. It is no longer recommended to do monthly self-breast exams because of lack of evidence to support this intervention.
- Waistline measurements: These measurements help screen for possible health risks associated with weight gain and obesity. Using a tape measure, measure the narrowest part of the torso, and be sure to measure the same spot each time. Doing this helps screen for possible health risks that come with overweight and obesity.
- Mouth screening: Looking into the mouth can be important to monitor for certain cancers and precancer that form orally. If there is a new growth or color change, please contact a health care professional.