Getting naked isn’t just something you should do with your partner. Baring all when you’re alone is also a good time for you to check your health.
CHECK YOUR BREAST The one thing women have been encouraged to do in the buff is check their breasts — remember you’re feeling for any lumps, looking for skin puckering or nipple changes.
CHECK YOUR WEIGHT Insulin resistance, which occurs when your body stops listening to the signals sent by the blood-sugar-lowering hormone insulin, is a growing problem. It leads to weight gain and an increased risk of diabetes. In his book, The Skinny, Dr Louis Aronne says one symptom of insulin resistance is “skin tags on the neck, under arms or in the breast and groin area. The skin around the neck, knuckles and elbows also looks dark.” If you have these and struggle with your weight, switching to a low-GI, higher-protein diet might help.
CHECK YOUR CHOLESTEROL You might know that yellow or white blobs on your eyelids, known as xanthomata, can be a sign of high cholesterol. But Professor James Tatoulis, chief medical adviser for the Heart Foundation, says that a build-up of lipids like this can also appear on the body. “On the back, buttocks and thighs, xanthomata can be several millimetres in diameter with a yellow centre and mild pink surround,” says Tatoulis.
CHECK YOUR BIKINI LINE Normally, pubic hair will grow in a triangular type shape down towards the genitals, but if yours is more of a square, growing up toward your navel and down on your thigh including body hair around the chest, back, face and chin, it can be a sign of polycystic ovarian syndrome. If your concerned see your doctor and request a complete blood panel including hormone check.
CHECK YOUR MID-SECTION Fat around your middle is more harmful than that on, say, your hips and thighs. To spot it, lie flat on your back and tense your tummy muscles, and look at your stomach. Any pouch means you’re carrying a bit too much fat around your middle. Try to lower your stress levels and cut down on refined carbohydrates, because both of these things are linked to the accumulation of ‘toxic’ fat.
CHECK YOUR MOLES Individuals with over 100 moles have a 700 per cent higher than normal risk of melanoma,” says Dr David Duffy from the Queensland Institute of Medical Research. If you fall into this group, you should get regular professional skin examinations, but also keep a careful eye on things yourself. This can be tricky but always look for moles that change in color and size.
CHECK YOUR VAGINA examining your vulva on a monthly basis is recommended to spot things like vulval cancer. If you don’t know what your vagina looks like normally, it can be very hard to tell if something is wrong. Use a mirror, and if you do spot any white or very dark patches, any thickening of the skin, warts, lumps, ulcers, blisters or sores see your doctor.
CHECK YOUR POSTURE for issues that might lead to aches and pains in the future. The most common things to look for are ihead and shoulders extending forward and your lower back arches too much. To help improve your posture, stand straight and ask a friend to apply a strip of surgical tape from one shoulder blade to the other — if you slump, this will tug and you can correct yourself. Also, look for locked knees and calves that arch backwards, and try to keep them soft.
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