Your ability to perform medical tests with equipment you have on hand may mean the difference between finding a potentially life threatening ailment before it becomes a real problem. It could help identify some symptoms if a doctor isn’t present, and give you an idea of someone’s state of health. Whenever possible, you should seek real medical attention from a certified professional, but in a pinch there are a few tests you should know about…
What you need: A watch and your fingers.
How it works: Place your index and middle fingers just to the side of your windpipe. You can also check someone’s pulse at their wrist, on the thumb side of their hand near the joint. Normal heart rate for an adult is between 60 and 100 beats per minute.
If the person has been exercising or has a large body mass, his or her heart rate may differ. Look for other signs that a person may be in serious bodily harm, like pale skin or low body temperature.
What you need: a manual blood pressure monitoring system and a stethoscope. You can purchase one with a pump that easily fits into most medical kits.
How it works: Sit in a comfortable chair with your back straight. Locate your pulse just past the bend of your elbow. The stethoscope can help, but just feel around for the pulse until you find it. Put your arm through the cuff and tighten it, using the stethoscope to listen for your heart rate. Inflate the gauge until the pulse slows, then gently release it. The moment you hear the first pulse, you have found systolic pressure (the pressure of the blood coursing through your veins). It sometimes can be tricky to undo the valve and let go of the pressure in the monitor, so practice at home before you administer this test live.
Once you have found systolic pressure, inflate the cuff slowly until you reach it. When your pulse disappears, note the reading on the gauge. That’s the diastolic pressure, measuring the force between heartbeats. Let the cuff deflate and double check your notations. You should have an idea based on previous medical history what your blood pressure should be, but always check with your doctor if you suspect an issue.
BMI (Body Mass Index)
What you need: a scale and some math skills.
How it works: first measure your weight, then measure your height. Once you have those two figures, divide your weight by your height squared, and that should give you your BMI. That should give you a decimal number, which you then multiply by what’s called a “conversion factor.” The conversion factor for BMI happens to be 703.
BMI isn’t the world’s most accurate measurement of health, but it can tell you a lot about someone’s physique. Results between 18.5 to 25 range usually signal a good weight.
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The Best Time to get Pregnant
What you need: a calendar and a Basal Body Temperature thermometer.
How it works: a woman’s basal body temperature helps her understand when the best times are for her to get pregnant. The important thing is uniformity. Take your temperature as soon as you wake up. You can take it rectally, vaginally or orally, just make sure you do it at the same time every morning.
Before ovulation, your BBT should be around 96 or 98 and you are most fertile between one and two days before ovulation.
These tests are small indicators that something might be amiss. Again, when you’re having a medical crisis you need a licensed professional. Home health care agencies can provide the medical services you need, including post-operative care after surgery. You may even be able to hire part time assistance if you’re debilitated. In every situation, it is best to seek medical attention, but you can administer these tests at home if you need diagnostic information immediately.
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