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Check your health in less than 5 min.

November 14, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
Experts recommend a number of home health tests that could save your life.In less time than it takes to dry your hair you could perform a home health check that could save your life. Experts say the first thing you should do is count your moles.

"Typically, over 50 to 100 moles would be considered higher than normal, and putting one at slightly higher risk for developing melanoma," said Dr. Christine Mackey, Allegheny General Hospital.

Dr. Christine Mackey tells her patients to check the diameter of each mole. Anything larger than a pencil eraser should be examined. Pay attention to any unusual shapes, borders or color changes.

Quick check number two -- measure your waist.

"A waist size of larger than 35 is considered abnormal," said Dr. Mackey.

A waist size over 35-inches means a woman has a rounded, or apple, shape, putting her more at risk for diabetes and high blood pressure than her pear-shaped friends.

"I'm a pear. A pear is thicker in the legs and behind -- versus rounder in the waist," said Terra DeSantis.

A warning sign of diabetes, a certain type of rash.

"It's called acanthosis nigricans. It's a velvety, brownish-black rash around the neck or in the armpits. It suggests high levels of insulin and is a risk factor for possibly developing diabetes," said Dr. Mackey.

Women may find themselves at higher risk for certain sports injuries like knee problems. That's because women have a higher hip-to-knee angle than men.

"One of the things a woman can do at home is by putting her hand on her knee and extending her leg, she can feel for any crunching. We call that crepidence," Dr. Mackey.

The crunching may mean there's inflammation under the knee cap that can develop into arthritis. One good way to protect the knee? Start strengthening the muscles surrounding it.

The final step, check your feet.

Step into wet sand and take a look at the footprint left behind.

"A normal imprint, you'll see the toes, the ball of the foot, side of the foot and the heel," said Dr. Mackey.

If you have a high arch you'll see less of an imprint, meaning you may need extra support. Without it, your foot may rotate during exercise and cause ankle, knee or back injury down the road.

Two more quick checks: take your temperature when you wake up. If it's below 98.6, it might indicate an underactive thyroid. If you find yourself sneezing a lot: pull down your lower eyelids and look inside. If you see little bumps that look like cobblestones, you may have an undiagnosed allergy.


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