Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


10 easy ways to be your own doctor

02 June 2014, 11:02

Abuja -  There are ten vital steps to managing your own health, take charge with these easy tips.

1. Have a PERF-ect day

Essentially, there are four things you should monitor every day to make sure you are living healthily: the amount of fresh fruit and vegetables you ate that day (Produce); whether you walked and were active (Exercise); whether you got at least 15 minutes of laughter and fun time for yourself (Relaxation); and whether you got enough beans, grains and other high-fibre foods (Fibre). If you can say you did well on all four, your day has been extremely healthy. (Now the bad news: this doesn’t apply if you spent the rest of the day drinking, smoking and eating chocolate.)

2. Get naked every two or three months

Then, with your partner (or a close friend), conduct a head-to-toe skin check, looking for any new moles, changed moles, suspicious spots or rashes. Be sure to check your scalp, between your toes and fingers, and the underside of your arms. If you find anything worrying, see your doctor.

Do the ABCD test when checking moles, looking out for these possible danger signs:

    Asymmetry The two halves of the mole don’t match.
    Border irregularity The edges of the mole are jagged.
    Colour Uneven, different shades of black, brown or pink. Diameter More than 6mm.

3. Monitor your sleepiness

There are three good ways to tell if you’re not getting enough sleep. First, do you require an alarm clock to wake up most mornings? Second, do you become drowsy in the afternoon, to the point that it affects what you’re doing?

Third, do you doze off shortly after eating dinner? If the answer to any of these is yes, you need more sleep. And if you’re getting enough sleep (about eight hours) and still have these troubles, talk to your doctor about your low energy.

4. Measure your height every year after you turn 50

This is especially important for women as a way of assessing posture and skeletal health. A decrease in stature can be as informative as a change in a bone density test for monitoring your overall bone health. If you notice changes or you have other concerns, speak to your doctor.

5. Keep track of the colour of your urine

This may sound weird, but it’s a useful health indicator. Your urine should be a clear, straw colour; if it’s dark or smells strong, you may not be drinking enough fluids. If it stays dark-coloured even after you increase your liquid intake, make an appointment with your doctor. If it’s bright yellow, it may be the B vitamins in your multivitamin tablets (if you take them).

6. Count your heartbeats after you exercise

A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that women with poor heart rate recovery (HRR) after exercise had twice the risk of having a heart attack within ten years as those who had normal recovery rate.

Try this simple test to discover your HRR: next time you exercise, for example, a strenuous 20-minute walk or a jog, count your heartbeats for 15 seconds immediately afterwards, then multiply the result by four to get your heart rate. Sit down and wait for two minutes, then check again. Subtract the second number from the first. If it’s under 55, your HRR is higher than normal and you should talk it through with your doctor.

7. If you have diabetes, examine your feet every day

Diabetics are susceptible to foot damage, so should examine their feet carefully for any blisters, fungus, peeling skin, cuts or bruises. Because people with diabetes often have some nerve damage in the extremities, these daily self-examinations offer critical clues as to how well they’re managing their blood sugar.

8. Have a cardiovascular assessment

If you’re over 40 and not on treatment for heart disease or high blood pressure, it’s worth getting a cardiovascular assessment for future heart attack and stroke risk. You should also arrange one if you’re under 40 with a strong family history of heart attack or stroke. Blood cholesterol is just one of several factors that needs to be measured and assessed, along with your smoking status, blood glucose level, electrocardiogram (ECG) results and blood pressure.

Measuring cholesterol alone is not enough, as “normal” cholesterol levels do not necessarily mean that your overall cardiovascular risk is “normal”. Ask for information and advice at your doctor’s surgery.

9. Check your hairbrush

If you’ve noticed your hair is falling out, ask your doctor to check your levels of blood ferritin, which will indicate how much iron your body is storing. Some studies suggest low levels may be related to unexplained hair loss. Thyroid disease is another fairly common cause.

10. Check your blood pressure every six months

You can do this yourself with a home blood pressure monitor. You can get information from the Heart and Stroke Foundation (heartfoundation.co.za – type in “blood pressure” in the search box). If the top number is more than 140 (130 if you have diabetes) and the bottom number is higher than 90 (80 for diabetics), wait a day, then check it again. If it’s still high, make an appointment to see your doctor.

- Health24

For the latest on national news, politics, sport, entertainment and more follow us on Twitter and like our Facebook page!


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...