How Healthy Are You? 13 Instant, Easy Health Checks
More Quick Health Tests11. Check Your Eyelids
Still sneezing and sniffling even though you've beaten your winter cold and spring is still months away? You may have undiagnosed allergies. Do this quick self-test: Pull down your lower eyelid and look at the inside. "If there are little bumps that look like cobblestones, you're probably allergic to something," says Mark Hyman, MD, editor-in-chief of the medical journal Alternative Therapies and author of Ultraprevention (Atria, 2005). Some of the most common culprits are dust, pet dander, and mold. You can help reduce allergens by investing in a HEPA filter in your bedroom, using antiallergenic mattresses and pillow covers, and keeping any pets out of your bedroom or, at least, off the bed. If those steps still don't bring relief, consider seeing an allergist, who can run a series of blood tests to pinpoint the problem and prescribe medication to relieve your symptoms.12. Take Your Temperature When You Wake Up
"This is when your body temperature is at its lowest and most consistent -- if it's below 98.6, that could indicate a condition known as hypothyroidism, or an underactive thyroid," says Dr. Hyman. If you've got other symptoms, such as constipation, dry skin, cold intolerance, irritability, or fatigue, see your doctor, who can do blood tests to measure your thyroid levels. An underactive thyroid can also cause weight gain, even if you've been exercising and carefully watching your diet.13. Monitor Your Breathing
"We're designed to breathe through our nose -- mouth breathing is an evolutionary response to stress," explains Christiane Northrup, MD, an ob/gyn in Yarmouth, Maine, and author of Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom (Bantam, 1998). "When you breathe through your nose, you stimulate your vagus nerve, which helps reduce stress by slowing down your heart rate and relaxing blood vessels." You'll feel more alert because you're taking in more air (a deep breath through your nose travels all the way to the bottom of your lungs). If your sinuses are blocked, see your MD: You may have allergies or sinusitis, which can be treated with medication.
Originally published in Fitness magazine, February 2006.
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