This particular test may still need professional equipment, but there are similarly easy health tests that you can do at home that don’t require technology to interpret the results. All of the below tests take no longer than a minute, and they can highlight an array of serious health issues, from dementia to blocked arteries and anemia. (Remember: always consult your GP if you’re unsure about medical issues and symptoms.)
1. Read your palms
If you’ve been feeling lethargic, have shortness of breath or have noticed your heart racing in your chest, it might be worth taking a look at your palms.
Iron is used for creating red blood cells that carry oxygen around your body. If you’re not getting enough red blood cells due to anemia, your skin will look paler.
A great way of checking is to turn your hands facing upwards in front of you and stretch out your fingers. If the creases in your palm are pale, regardless of your skin tone, this may mean you have bad circulation in your blood vessels due to low iron levels.
You can also check under your nail beds and the waterline above your lower lash line of your eyes. If all are light in colour, be sure to head to your doctor, who can order a Full Blood Count (FBC) to confirm.
2. Cushion test
Not only could this test measure how healthy your arteries are but it also gives you the perfect opportunity to put your feet up.
Lie on your back and, using cushions, prop up both legs so they’re at a 45-degree angle. Stay in this position for a minute and take note of the colour that your legs are turning; are they becoming paler or have they retained their colour? When the minute is up, lower your legs as fast as possible so they’re hanging off one side of your bed, or sofa, at a 90 degree angle.
If you noted that your legs were particularly drained of colour whilst raised and then take a couple of moments to return to normal it could indicate that you have blocked arteries, known medically as peripheral arterial disease.
PAD is caused by fatty material known as plaque building up in the walls of your arteries making it narrower for blood to get through and can lead to coronary heart disease or critical limb ischaemia.
3. Phalen’s maneuver
Carpal tunnel may well be every office worker’s worst nightmare but you might find some relief in knowing that it’s quite easy to diagnose and can be done at home.
Press the top of your wrists together, so your fingertips are facing the floor, in a reverse prayer position. Your elbows should be extended. Hold this position for sixty seconds.
If you feel tingling, a prickling or burning sensation or something akin to knocking your ‘funny bone’ in your thumb, index finger, middle finger and part of the ring finger, then you most probably have carpal tunnel and it might be time to give the typing a rest.
4. Wobble test
Wobbling can be a great indicator of your health and could mean anything from having one too many coffees or that you’re suffering from anxiety. It is also a particularly good indicator of hyperthyroidism, although would have to be grouped with other symptoms, including mood swings, constant exhaustion and weight loss.
Stretch out your hand infront of you, with your palm down, and place a piece of paper on top of it. Trembles can be too small to see in the hand but if you do have an overactive thyroid, you should notice the paper moving.
5. Window test
If you find yourself squinting at the screen or getting a headache after reading, you could be due for an eye test. However, if you’re still not certain if it requires a trip to your high street specsavers, then take a moment out of your day to test yourself.
Standing across the room from a door frame, focus on the lines of the door, both vertical and horizontal. Cover one eye and look at it for 30 seconds before doing the same for the other eye.
If your vision is 20/20 the door should appear as exactly that, a door, with straight edges and no missing parts or anything wavy, distorted or kinked. If you are experiencing some of the latter you may be more susceptible to losing your vision due to macular degeneration, the main cause of vision loss in over 60s.
6. Squat test
According to researchers for the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, if you get less than eight points in this longevity test, there’s a greater likelihood that you’ll bite the dust in the next six years.
You begin this test, which also measures your muscle strength and balance, with ten points. Start by crossing your legs and squatting down until you’re sitting on the ground. Then, get back up again.
If you use your hands, then minus a point from your initial ten points. If another part of your body touched the ground, minus another point. If two parts of your body touch the ground, for instance, your thigh and your elbow, minus two points. If you wobbled, knock off a point. If you fall, take a point away.
If you’ve wobbled and six parts of your body have hit the ground, leaving you with a score of three or less, you’re 6.5 times as likely to die in the next six years. Sorry…
7. Clock test
If you’re worried about dementia this test has achieved widespread clinical use and is easy to do at home. Draw a clock on a piece of paper, write on the numbers and make the hands read 3:40.
If you drew a closed circle, you receive a point. If you placed the numbers in the correct place, you receive a point. If you wrote down all twelve numbers, you receive a point. Finally, if the hands are placed correctly, you receive a point.
If you scored three or less you should contact your GP about getting a screening for dementia.