4 Important Ways to Monitor Your Health

4 Important Ways to Monitor Your HealthMany health conditions don’t show up until it’s too late unless you understand specific ways to monitor your health.

For example, you could miss signs of stomach cancer, kidney disease due to high blood pressure, and heart attacks.

Hence it’s important to know how to monitor your health so you’re proactive and prepared.

And that’s what we’ll discuss in this article. By the end of it, you’ll be more aware about your health status than ever before.

As you might know, I am a bestselling wellness author with about 2 million books sold globally.

Plus I founded a groundbreaking video course called The Anxiety Cure.

I love sharing insights and strategies to help people to be happier and healthier.

So I put together this article with a few simple ways to monitor your healthiness.

4 Important Ways to Monitor Your Health

Let’s get started.

1. Pay attention to your poop

Poop is disgusting but incredibly helpful for understanding the health of your gut and liver. A wide range of health conditions show up as changes in how often you pass stool and the color and texture of your poop.

For example, if you have a problem with bile drainage, your poop will turn clay-colored. Bile drainage can be disrupted due to conditions like gallstones and pancreatic cancer. Similarly, if your stool turns black, this might mean there is bleeding somewhere inside your gut. 

Then, some people experience what’s called “greasy stools”. This type of poop is sticky, difficult to wipe off, and takes multiple flushes to go away. Greasy stools are usually a sign that your body can’t absorb fats, which can happen due to a wide range of conditions. 

It’s a good idea to consult your doctor as soon as possible if you have greasy stools. That’s because you might be losing fat-soluble vitamins (like vitamin A, D, and E) via stool, which can lead to long-term complications.

If you want to know more about how poop changes in different health conditions, you should check out the Center for Gastrointestinal Health’s poop chart.

2. Look out for signs of anemia 

A lack of red blood cells in the body is called anemia. If you don’t have enough red blood cells, your tissues won’t get the right amount of oxygen. And this can make you feel tired all the time.

Anemia is pretty common, especially in women of childbearing age because they lose blood as part of menstruation every month. Fortunately, the most common cause of anemia is an iron-deficient diet, which makes it very easy to treat. You can read about other causes of anemia here.

Signs of anemia you should look out for include:

  • Hair loss
  • Feeling tired all the time
  • Spoon-shaped nails
  • Painful and swollen tongue with a smooth surface. Normally, your tongue should have a rough texture due to tiny bumps called papillae. 
  • Pica, which is the urge to eat dirt. Some people also develop a craving for ice.
  • Difficulty swallowing. Sometimes, anemia is associated with abnormal throat lining, which makes it difficult to swallow food. This is called Plummer Vinson Syndrome.
  • Pallor, which means pale skin and mucous membranes. An excellent place to detect pallor is the conjunctiva of your eyes. Pull down your lower eyelid and see how red the area under it is. If it’s paler than other members of your family, you might have anemia.

If you have any of these signs, you should see a doctor. Treatment of iron-deficiency anemia involves eating an iron-rich diet and taking oral iron supplements for 3-6 months.

3. Pick up high blood cholesterol early 

High blood cholesterol is a silent killer. It often causes no signs and symptoms unless it’s too late, when it might show up as a life-threatening event like a heart attack or stroke.

If your cholesterol is too high, however, it can manifest as certain bodily changes. This is especially true if you have hereditary hypercholesterolemia, which is inherited from parents. 

Signs you might have high cholesterol include:

  • Yellow bumps on your skin — common sites are buttocks, back, knee, elbow, palm
  • Xanthelasma. If a yellow bump is found on your upper eyelids, it’s called a xanthelasma.
  • A gray-white discoloration of your cornea — this is called arcus senilis. It’s normal in old age but indicates high cholesterol in younger people.

If you have any of these signs, you must see a doctor immediately. Because they usually mean your cholesterol is very high, which puts you at risk for heart attack and stroke.

High cholesterol is often treated with lifestyle modifications and statins, which are cholesterol-reducing drugs. However, the exact treatment you get depends on your age and the type of hereditary hypercholesterolemia you have.

4. Don’t forget about your mental health 

Many of us are super-conscious about our physical health but don’t pay a lot of attention to mental health diseases.

Given the ongoing pandemic, paying attention to your mental health is now more important than ever before. Let’s discuss the signs of a few common diseases you should know about.

a. Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)

This is the most common anxiety disorder in adults and affects 5-10% of the US population. It’s defined as prolonged and excessive anxiety that is not focused on a single specific fear. People with GAD worry excessively about multiple aspects of their life like health, work, and relationships.

Signs of GAD include:

  • Irritability
  • Muscle tension
  • Concentration difficulties
  • Lack of sleep

The diagnosis is made if these symptoms continue for at least 6 months. You can check out these 4 actionable tips for dealing with anxiety as you wait for your doctor’s appointment.

b. Major depressive disorder (MDD)

MDD is believed to affect around 10-20% of the US population. It’s more common in females and usually shows up in the third decade of life. And it’s easy to ignore because the signs are relatively non-specific. 

Signs of MDD include:

  • Depressed mood
  • Lack of sleep
  • Excessive sleep
  • Inability to enjoy activities that are normally pleasurable
  • Feelings of worthlessness
  • Feelings of guilt
  • Loss of energy
  • Weight changes

If these symptoms continue for more than 2 weeks, you might have MDD. You should know that MDD can be effectively treated using drugs and behavioral therapy. Make sure you seek care for your symptoms.

c. Panic disorder 

Panic disorder is another common anxiety disorder. People with panic disorder experience sudden, unexpected panic attacks that occur repeatedly. During a panic attack, patients experience:

  • Sweating
  • Palpitations, which is when you can feel your heart beating
  • Stomach pain
  • Nausea
  • Light-headdness 
  • Chest pain

Panic attacks are scary because they look like a heart attack, and patients often feel as if they’re dying. 

Plus, panic disorder is a very disabling condition because people start avoiding the situations where a previous attack occurred. This could mean declining academic or professional performance. 

Just like GAD and MDD, panic disorder can be treated with medical drugs and behavioral therapy, which is why it’s an excellent idea to seek professional help for your symptoms. 

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