5-minute DIY health check

Tune into your body’s cues with this 5 minute at home health check.

If you think all health checks involve getting poked, prodded and some level of disrobing, think again. There are some simple ways to check your health by yourself at home.

While health starts on the inside, experts can do ‘eye-ball’ health assessments by looking at our skin, eyes, mouth and nails. Here’s a quick guide of what to look for next time you’re looking in the mirror.

Skin

Have you ever noticed that healthy people have a kind of glow? That’s because skin is a great indicator of what’s going on below the surface.

Dull and lifeless skin

If your skin is looking dull and lifeless, you may be dehydrated. Keep a water bottle on hand to help you sip your way to eight glasses of fluid each day.

Breakouts 

Breakouts and congested skin can hint that your digestive health is not running smoothly. Regular bowel movements are important for removing toxins and waste products and when you’re constipated these toxins hang around, leading to congested skin. Drinking enough water and eating plenty of fruit and vegetables is the first step to clear skin. Taking a fibre supplement can be helpful if regular bowel movements are a struggle.

Breakouts may also signal a hormonal imbalance, or that you’re feeling stressed.

Acne and facial hair growth in females can indicate Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, (PCOS). If you are concerned, discuss this with your GP.

Skin colour and tone

If you’re looking pale and feeling tired (and it’s not due to a few late nights) you may be anaemic or deficient in iron, folate or B12. Other symptoms of anaemia include headaches, dizziness, breathlessness, sensitivity to cold and in some people, a red, sore and smooth tongue.

Yellow tinged skin is a trigger for your GP to check liver function.

Skin can turn orange if excessive amounts of orange vegetables (such as carrots or pumpkin) are eaten, as betacarotene (Vitamin A) accumulates in skin.

Eyes

They’ve been called windows to the soul, but eyes can also give us hints about our health.

Pull down the lower eyelid. If it’s pale then you may be anaemic. Ask your GP to test your iron, folate and B12 levels.

Small waxy lumps in your eyelids (called xanthelasmas) can be caused by genetically high cholesterol levels (familial hypercholesterolemia). Your GP can check your cholesterol and advise you on the best way to manage this condition.

Lips 

Taking a close look at your lips can be useful for diagnosing nutrient deficiencies.

Angular stomatitis (the red ‘cuts’ at the corner of the mouth) and cheilosis (dry, scaly lips, especially the corners) can indicate iron deficiency anaemia, inadequate riboflavin, niacin or pyridoxine deficiency.

Nails

Our nails offer a goldmine of health information.

Pale, brittle or spoon shaped nails suggest iron deficiency.

Pitting or rippled nails are often found in people with psoriasis.

Clubbed nails (where fingertips enlarge and nail curves over the end) are associated with low oxygen levels in the blood – related to underlying pulmonary and cardiovascular diseases.

If the usually pink part of nail is half pink and half white, it can indicate renal or liver disease.

Being tuned in to your body’s internal cues and external clues puts you in the driver’s seat of your health. Taking notice, and taking action is the key to optimal health.

Recommended reading - Issue Two Summer 2012

Experts

What you can do to reduce your risk of dementia

Being socially active, managing weight and exercising are some ways to reduce the risk of dementia.

Read more
Travel

Active travel in the great outdoors

We share some of our favourite things to do in America's incredible national parks.

Read more
Experts

Cutting your cancer risk

A diet rich in unprocessed grains and meats, fruits and veggies can reduce your risk of cancer.

Read more
Experts

Sun safety: How to protect your skin this summer

Keep your skin safe and healthy while you're enjoying the beautiful outdoors.

Read more
Community

Expert advice to help you swim, bike, run

Danielle Stefano from the Victorian Institute of Sport shares some advice for your first triathlon.

Read more
Travel

Hitting the road with your pet

Bringing your pet with you on a trip makes exploring new surrounds double as fun!

Read more
Travel

Auckland – Top 10 city to visit in 2014

Making Lonely Planet's 'Best In Travel' for 2014, we highlight the best spots to visit in Auckland.

Read more
Recipes

Vietnamese salad recipe

A fresh, healthy summer salad that’s perfect for lunches.

Read more
Recipes

Simple berry bircher recipe

A bircher muesli that takes 2 minutes to prepare - leave overnight and enjoy for breakfast.

Read more
Community

A chef’s travels with Peter Kuruvita

Peter shares his most memorable food experience and what inspires his cooking over summer.

Read more
Recipes

Barbecued island beef recipe

A dish inspired by coconuts and green pastures

Read more
Lifestyle

Salsa verde recipe

This classic condiment by Peter Kuruvita is great with anything, especially barbecued meat

Read more
Lifestyle

Snapping the journey

There’s nothing like travelling the world and documenting the journey.

Read more
Community

The history of the ambulance

Medibank health humorist Nick Snelling explores the history of the ambulance.

Read more
Recipes

Cucumber and corn salsa recipe

A refreshing corn salsa perfect for summer.

Read more
Community

Double power in the kitchen: Isabella and Sofia Bliss

Talented twins share summer favourites and why it’s important for children to grow up cooking.

Read more
Recipes

Prawn ravioli with tomato, rocket and lemon sauce recipe

A mouth-watering prawn ravioli recipe from junior Masterchef stars.

Read more
Lifestyle

Protect your pet this summer

RSPCA shares its top tips for keeping your pet safe this summer.

Read more
Experts

Chinese medicine for the four seasons: Summer

Advice from Dr. Katie Molloy on how to make a healthy transition from spring to summer.

Read more
Community

Made by athletes for athletes

2XU co-founder Jamie Hunt talks about product development and changes in compression technology.

Read more
Experts

9 post-exercise recovery tips

Professor David Cameron-Smith shares nine simple ways to reduce muscle pain and speed up recovery.

Read more
Experts

The importance of bowel cancer screening

How a simple test can help detect bowel cancer, one of the most preventable forms of cancer.

Read more
Recipes

Pettole (Italian fruit donuts) recipe

A delicious treat by Junior Masterchef stars Sofia and Isabella Bliss

Read more
Community

Swim, bike, run this summer

From Caloundra to Latrobe, discover the events that can help you get ready for triathlon season.

Read more
Travel

Auckland’s east and west

Beyond Auckland’s city limits, there is so much waiting for you to explore.

Read more
Community

Your first triathlon: Tips from Brendan Sexton

Olympian Brendan Sexton shares some helpful advice for your first triathlon.

Read more
Community

Healing hands

Four surgeons across four medical specialties reveal their tools of the trade.

Read more
Community

Health matters with Ita Buttrose

Ita Buttrose raises awareness of the importance of good health.

Read more
Community

Music and the mind with Something for Kate

Paul Dempsey shares how he handles the mental and physical pressures of being a musician.

Read more
Community

Australian Open

A highlight of the sporting calendar, the Australian Open is set to thrill spectators once again.

Read more
Community

Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain Ironman & Ironwoman Series

Watch top athletes from around the country compete in one the world's most gruelling competitions.

Read more
Community

Putting on a grand slam

Craig Tiley reveals what goes on behind the scenes to host an event like the Australian Open.

Read more
Lifestyle

Latest health and lifestyle gadgets

Keep your finger on the pulse with these health and lifestyle gadgets.

Read more
Lifestyle

Health shelf – Lisa Weightman

Whether it's on the track or in the office, Lisa Weightman knows how to set—and reach—her goals.

Read more
Lifestyle

Visualising health with Courtney Hancock

Courtney Hancock comes from stellar sporting history and is the 2011 Australian Ironwoman champion.

Read more
In Brief

be. magazine Summer 2012

The summer edition of Medibank be. magazine is here to inspire, motivate and encourage.

Read more
Community

Nike+ SportsWatch GPS

Medibank member Kim reviews the Nike+ SportWatch GPS.

Read more
Community

A couple of sports stars – Trent Copeland and Kim Green

Competitive even in marriage, Kim Green and Trent Copeland have learned to love each other's sport.

Read more
Community

Working to achieve better health

People who undertake jobs that contribute to a healthier life find fulfilment in them.

Read more
In Brief

Health Parks, Healthy People

Summer is a great time to exercise in our many leafy parks and urban gardens.

Read more
In Brief

Watsi

How you can donate life-saving medical treatments to people in need.

Read more
In Brief

Bright Hearts

Design and medicine combine to help sick kids.

Read more
Community

Unpacking the role of a dietitian

What is a consultation with a dietician like?

Read more
In Brief

Super-sized soda ban in New York

Bigger is apparently not better as super sized sodas are banned in New York.

Read more
Community

Celebrate Health

A healthy flavoursome teriyaki sauce without the added nasties.

Read more
Lifestyle

Health Shelf – Jenna O’Hea

Jenna O'Hea discusses some of her favourite books, from inspirational memoirs to fantasy novels.

Read more

For full functionality of this site it is necessary to enable JavaScript. Here are instructions on how to enable JavaScript in your web browser.