Take a proactive approach to your health

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Take a proactive approach to your health
Benefits of a regular health check, at home and with your doctor

Visiting a doctor is not always the most pleasant of experiences. Yet the benefits of taking a proactive approach to your own health by undergoing a regular health check, both at home and with your GP, are undeniable.

Regular health checks can help to identify early warning signs of disease or illness. Heart disease, diabetes and some cancers can often be picked up in their early stages, when treatment may be more successful.

Courtesy of the Better Health Channel, find out more about the benefits of a regular health check, at home and with your doctor.

Health checks with your doctor

When visiting your doctor for a check-up, he/she will ask you quite a few personal questions. These may include questions about you and your family’s medical history, questions about your lifestyle habits (such as your diet, weight and exercise habits) and whether or not you smoke, drink alcohol or take illicit drugs.

This is to help your doctor gain a thorough understanding of your current health status and identify any risks you may be exposed to. The information you share with your doctor is confidential and will not be shared with anyone else without your permission.

Depending on your doctor’s analysis, he/she may recommend specific tests according to your situation. These may include (but are not limited to) the checking of your blood pressure, blood tests and various screenings.

Your doctor will then be able to tell you how regularly you should visit for a check-up, and also how you can conduct health checks on yourself at home.

Health checks at home

Between trips to the GP, it’s still important to regularly monitor your health. For a thorough check, try these quick assessments you can conduct in the comfort of your own home. Ask yourself:

1. Diet - what do you eat in a day? Eating a balanced and nutritious diet can minimise your risk of developing lifestyle-related health conditions. As a general rule of thumb, the Better Health Channel recommends we eat at least two serves of fruit and five serves of vegetables every day. For the full scope of recommended servings per food group, check out Nutrition Australia’s Healthy Eating Pyramid.

2. Weight – are you within your healthy weight range? Maintaining a healthy weight can minimise your risk of developing lifestyle-related health conditions, such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Find out more about keeping within your healthy weight range here.

3. Physical activity – are you on your feet all day, or do you lead a sedentary lifestyle? It’s recommended that to maintain a healthy mind and body one must complete at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity every day. This may include a brisk walk, a gentle swim or a social game of tennis.

4. Dental care – how often do you clean your teeth? It’s recommended that we visit a dentist at least once a year for an examination and professional clean, however brushing your teeth twice a day, combined with regular flossing and eating a low-sugar diet, can help reduce your risk of tooth decay, gum disease and tooth loss – making that trip to the dentist a lot less daunting!

5. Skin checks – are you aware of any unusual moles or freckles that have appeared on your body? Checking your skin regularly will enable you to become familiar with its spots and marks, making it easier for you to identify an irregularity in its early stages and get it checked properly by a doctor or dermatologist.

6. Smoking – are you smoker, and if so, how many cigarettes do you smoke in a day? Smoking increases your risk of many diseases, including heart disease, lung disease, stroke and thin bones. Quitting as soon as possible can help reduce your risk to these kinds of diseases.

7. Alcohol – how often do you drink alcohol? Those who have at least two alcohol-free days per week and drink no more than two standard drinks per drinking day have better long-term health. Find out more about the responsible consumption of alcohol here.

To find out more about health checks with your doctor and at home, visit: