Important Health Checks You Can Do At Home

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Health Shield recently announced the release of the Workplace Health Screening benefit, a service that has been designed to look after the long-term health and wellbeing of employees.

This benefit offers your employees the chance to have an in-depth look at their overall health and wellbeing with specifics also being investigated. However, there are so many simpler health checks you should be encouraging your employees to perform at home to help them look after themselves as well.

Your employees’ health and wellbeing, both physically and mentally, should be of high importance to you, after all, a happy healthy workforce means a productive one. Whilst you might be doing what you can to look after them at work, being vigilant at home is just as important.

With so many health concerns for everyone today, staying on top of the signs is vital as a preventative measure and stopping those problems getting worse.

Health Shield provide some top tips on spotting a problem in the early stages. Remember, if your employees think they have any kind of problem they should seek help from their GP as soon as possible.

  • Breast checks:
    • This applies to men and women as every year there are more than 62,000 people diagnosed – the equivalent of one person every 10 minutes.
    • How? Keep an eye on size and appearance which includes colour or dimpling of the skin. Check the breast, armpit and collarbone for lumps. This is best performed when the skin is wet.
  • Eyes:
    • The eyes are the key to many illnesses. They can show signs of thyroid problems, anaemia and high cholesterol amongst others.
    • How to look after your eyes? There are a number of things you can do at home to look after your eyes such as eating healthily which helps keep your retina healthy, protecting your eyes from the sun to avoid any irreversible damage and exercising regularly to reduce the risk of sight loss.
  • Heart Rate:
    • Keeping an eye on the rhythm of the heart can help spot irregular heartbeats which can lead to further problems like heart attacks and strokes.
    • How? Hold the middle and index finger on either the neck or wrist for 30 seconds counting the number of beats. Multiply that number by two for a total heart rate.
  • Mouth:
    • Although mouth cancer does not get the same level of exposure as other cancers, it is still the sixth most common cancer in the world. It occurs more often in those aged 50-74, but can occur in every one in eight people under the age of 50.
    • How? Take a moment to open the mouth as wide as possible and look for anything unusual e.g. white patches or sore areas which do not heal within 3 weeks. Make sure to keep inspecting the gums for any bleeding or inflammation which can be signs of gum disease.
  • Skin & moles:
    • Melanoma, a form of skin cancer, is the fifth most common type of cancer in the UK. Around 15,000 people are diagnosed each year. Getting sunburnt once every two years triples the chances of developing skin cancer.
    • How? Regularly check the whole body for signs of change to any current moles or the development of new ones. Look particularly at whether they weep, bleed, itch or tingle.
  • Nails:
    • Nails give away some good clues to a person’s health. One third of diabetics have a fungal nail infection.
    • How? Look for discolouring. Also check for ridges as these could indicate hormonal changes, signs of diabetes or a thyroid problem and even stress.
  • Breathing:
    • Asthma is an illness that can cause around 4,000 deaths a year and is often overlooked.
    • How? Wheezing regularly or shortness of breath during exercise are classic signs of asthma which need investigating by a GP.
  • Flexibility:
    • Ensuring blood vessels are stretched regularly helps to reduce the risk of high blood pressure, stroke and heart attacks. The build-up of fat and plaque in the artery walls through a sedentary lifestyle causes arteries to stiffen and narrow.
    • How? Just like during exercise, sit on the floor with legs out straight in front with toes pointing upwards. Bend from the hips towards touching the toes. If the toes are out of reach the chances of increased risks for arterial stiffness are higher.

Focusing on your employees’ health and wellbeing, both inside and outside the workplace has benefits for everyone. Increased productivity, lower absence levels, and additional employee benefits are all valid reasons why you should take an active interest in promoting these simple health checks to your workplace. Working alongside your Health Shield Health Cash Plan you will only see positive effects on your absenteeism.

 

Sources:

http://www.oregonlive.com/health/index.ssf/2010/02/safe_simple_health_tests_you_c.html

http://www.rd.com/health/wellness/7-home-health-checks-that-can-save-your-life/

http://www.unum.co.uk/hr/how-often-should-you-perform-these-simple-health-checks

http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Eyehealth/Pages/Lookingafteryoureyes.aspx