Give Your Body a Body MOT

Like anything, your body needs regular maintenance and care. Give yourself a body MOT with our handy tips.

People of all ages should practice self check-ups between regular visits to the doctor. It can be reassuring to confirm that your body is working as it should. If a problem is detected, you’ll have the opportunity to nip it in the bud and continue with your healthy lifestyle.

Eye check    

Position yourself in front of a mirror in a well-lit room to inspect your eyes closely. Healthy eyes should be framed by firm eyelids with evenly spread lashes, there should be no swelling or redness. Test your vision by using a downloadable eye chart; print this off and tape it to a windowless wall. With the help of a friend, cover one eye and have them point to each line whilst you recount the letters you can see. 

Look out for…

If you discover redness or extreme irritation around the inner lid, this could be a sign of ectropion, a condition in which the skin on the lower eyelid droops outwards. Ectropion is an age-related condition that can lead to corneal damage. Missing lashes and a persistent lump are also signifiers of more serious conditions. If any such symptoms arise, they should be looked at immediately by a doctor. With the sight test, if an adult cannot read the 20/20 line with both eyes, they should book an appointment with their optometrist.

Skin check 

Take some time to run your fingers over your skin to check for textural and visual irregularities. Both men and women should concentrate their focus around the breast tissue; men should also take time to examine their testicular area. Use a handheld mirror to inspect your back and other hard-to-reach places. The skin should be clear, even in colour and free from rashes and new markings. 

Look out for… 

If you spot any new growths, dry skin patches, uneven skin tone, lumps and asymmetrical or discoloured moles, get them examined by a doctor. Moles that change in appearance or any brown or pinkish bumps can be an indication of melanoma—a type of skin cancer. 

Heart check 

Check your heart rate by placing two fingers on one side of your windpipe. With a stopwatch, count the amount of beats for 15 seconds. Multiply this number by four to determine your heartbeat per minute. The average healthy resting rate is between 60 and 100 beats per minute. Monitor the rhythm of your heart as well; instead of counting the beats, check that they occur at a steady pace. 

Look out for… 

If your heart rate is over 100 beats per minute, consult with your local physician. If you notice that your heart rate is elevated in certain environments—at work, for example—you may need to consider some stress-relieving techniques. Any fluttering or irregular rhythms should not be ignored; this could be a sign of arrhythmia—a heart condition that can lead to stroke or cardiac arrest. 

Teeth and gum check 

Use a disclosing tablet or solution to check that you are brushing your teeth properly. Start by brushing and flossing as usual. Then swash the solution around your mouth or chew the tablet, moving the stain through your mouth before spitting it out. The stain will illuminate the areas of plaque buildup. You should also inspect the rest of your mouth carefully to ensure it is healthy and clean, paying close attention to your gum line.

Look out for… 

Bleeding gums, lumps or thickening on the tongue, open sores and discolouration could all be areas for concern. If these appear during your self-assessment, arrange a check-up with your dentist. Likewise, if you notice that a large amount of plaque buildup is present on your teeth, you may need some expert advice on how to tackle the problem.

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