Sunday, November 27, 2011

25 Health Questions

Funny that we should be talking about health--right after a food-coma-inducing Thanksgiving weekend and before all of the goodies that will be popping up for the Christmas holidays--but getting a handle on your health isn't something you can wait to do.  In fact, there are people dropping dead today, as I type this, because they put their health on hold in order to concentrate on "more important things".  I can't think of anything that is more important for increasing your survival odds than being fit and healthy.  Here's 25 questions you should be able to answer about your health (and a good base-line for improving your health):
  1. What is your height? I know plenty of guys whose driver's licenses say they are 6' tall when clearly that was either wishful thinking or they have greatly shrunk over time.  Knowing your actual height is part of the formula for finding your BMI.
  2. What is your current weight? I also know plenty of women whose driver's licenses include a lot of wishful thinking when it comes to this question.
  3. What is your body mass index? Your BMI tells you how much body fat you have and is a good indicator of your overall health.  Here is a simple calculator.
  4. What is your blood pressure? This is another critical factor in your overall health--too high and you are much more prone to heart attack and stroke.
  5. What is your blood glucose level? Many, many people are diabetic and don't even know it.  Don't wait until your eyesight, a kidney, or a limb is gone in order to be tested for--and control if necessary--this pervasive disease.
  6. What is your cholesterol levels (HDL/LDL)?  This is yet another factor in determining your overall health and risk of heart disease and stroke.
  7. Have you had your vision tested lately? You may not realize a decline in your vision but having your eyes tested regularly can preempt vision-associated problems.
  8. Have you had your hearing tested lately? Ditto.  Many people don't realize their hearing is less than satisfactory because it declines so slowly.
  9. Have you had a bone density test? This test, usually conducted on women, can tell you how strong your bones are and how likely you are to fracture your bones as you age as well as allow for preemtive treatment.
  10. Have you had a complete physical lately? Men and women should have complete physicals every couple of years or as recommended by their doctor; this is a great way to catch disease early so you will have a better opportunity to treat it.
  11. Have you been tested for cancer lately?  Tests for everything from breast and cervical cancer to colon and prostate cancer generally come along with your complete physical and are an excellent way to catch cancer when it is still treatable.
  12. Have you had your thyroid checked lately?  This test can be overlooked during a complete physical but can often alert you to the reason you are having trouble with weight gain and other metabolic issues.
  13. Have you had your blood iron level checked?  Anemia is quite common in women during their child-bearing years but isn't routinely tested for unless you have specific problems.  This test will, like many other tests, allow you to head off problems in their early stages.
  14. Have you had your vitamin D levels tested?  Most Americans suffer from very low Vitamin D levels which can account for a multitude of problems ranging from depression to cancer.
  15. Do you have persistent digestion issues?  You may want to be tested for parasites, especially if you have traveled widely.  If it isn't that, you may want to experiment with pro-biotics and decreasing stress to head off stomach issues.
  16. What is your waist measurement?  This has recently been publicized as a pretty good indicator of your risk for diabetes and cardiovascular issues.
  17. Have you had a c-reactive protein test done?  Like many of the other tests mentioned here, this isn't a normal test to do but it can shed a great deal of light on your your overall health as it measures the amount of inflammation in your body.
  18. Do you smoke?  Smoking or using other tobacco products is detrimental to your overall health and predisposes you to a number of cancers and other diseases.  If you smoke, stop.
  19. Do you have allergies?  Sometimes people are well aware of their allergies (to nuts or bee stings, for example), but many times people have food sensitivities or allergies that mimic other types of health problems and can cause sinus problems, stomach problems, migraines, etc.
  20. Do you take drugs or drink alcohol in excess?  While a glass of wine occasionally is fine, ditto with a rare course of antibiotics, taking any sort of drugs or alcohol to excess will predispose you to a number of chronic--possibly fatal--health problems.
  21. Have you been tested for sexually transmitted diseases lately?  Many STDs can have no symptoms for years so many carriers don't even know they have them.  Be tested regularly if you have multiple sex partners and occasionally if you are in a monogamous relationship (I hate to say it but there are quite a few people in supposedly monogamous relationships who end up with "mystery" STDs...).
  22. Do you exercise regularly?  I hope the answer is yes.  Exercise is one of the leading prevention factors for a number of diseases and health problems.
  23. Do you eat nutritious food as a rule instead of as an exception?  Again, I hope the answer is yes as the combination of healthy food and exercise can beat nearly every common medical problems that afflicts people in our society today.
  24. Do you get regular vaccinations?  Every time I hear a parent say they don't want to vaccinate their kids I cringe at their stupidity.  Vaccinations may cause problems in a very small percentile of people but for the vast majority of human being, vaccinations are life savers.  Ask you doctor what vaccines you are due for. 
  25. Do you chill out and de-stress regularly?  Some researchers put chronic stress above many of the most common causes of diseases and chronic illness simply because continuous stress can cause a person to have all sorts of health problems.
Answer these 25 questions then make a concerted effort to improve in ALL of these areas.  Being fit and healthy is, besides being a major factor in survivng TEOTWAWKI, a way to avoid illness and disease as you age.


  1. great list, as usual

  2. What is with the survival community lately? It seems they are more interested in getting us to "RACE to our doctors" than survival in general. If I want this kind of health paranoia I will watch mainstream TV.

    Besides, Doctors these days CAN NOT be trusted. Levels get lower and lower for what is "Sick" and they want nothing more than to push pills with side effects that will tear your body and soul apart.

    I don't mind the occasional check up.. but full out MRIs and Blood level checks are a bit much for perfectly healthy people. Dont buy into the myth of "asymptomatic disease" or "preventative medicine". You KNOW when you are sick enough for a doctors visit.

  3. Oh geezz.. another doctor pusher. Sure,, let me drop what I am doing to get a ton of vaccines with all the side effects.

    Really? Are you now sponsored by the American Medical Association?

    The last two posts on this blog read like government propaganda.

    No, I dont smoke, no I dont drink, yes I work out.. am I part of the "cool kids" now? STAY AWAY from doctors and vaccines, and you will live longer.

    November 27, 2011 3:38 PM

  4. I think people need to take full control of their health. Knowing the answers to the 25 questions is a first step then what you do with the information is up to you. Because the American diet is so deficient in many nutrients, a blood panel will give you insight into what you are lacking.
    MRIs I don't recommend except when absolutly necessary.
    A medical consumer needs to have a bit of medical knowledge in order to make informed decisions about their health as most doctors follow sometimes dubious protocols and sometimes tests/meds are prescribed more as a form of insurance against getting sued than because it makes much sense to do so.
    And two incongruous things: my grandmother didn't go to a doctor for more than 50 years and she was perfectly healthy (after she started going to doctors, not so much) and another guy I know hadn't seen a doctor since the mid 1960s and recently lost a leg to diabetes he didn't know he had.
    tl;dr Make your own, informed medical decisions.

  5. ....MRI's saved my life.

  6. If you can answer all of those questions you're probably not living a very high quality of life. You probably take life way too serious.

    Also, BMI refers to people of average height and Average build. If you're a man 5' tall with a waist size of 39" your at a much lower risk than someone 6' 10" with a 40" waist? Jesus christ, really?

  7. Some more:

    #26: Do you wash/sanitize your hands before you eat, prepare food, treat wounds, and after you go to the bathroom, handle raw food, work/play with pets, change diapers, sneeze, cough, and shake hands? You'd be surprised at how many people don't.

    #27: Do you practice safer sex? Obviously the safest sex is monogamous sex between two married/committed people, but barring that, do you use condoms from start to finish every time, come clean about your sexual past, and ask partners to do the same?

    #28a: Have you talked to a mental health professional if you've experienced a recent traumatic event? You may have PTSD and not know it.

    #28b: Have you been screened for depression? If you feel "blue" or demoralized (or as is common with men, irritable) more often than not, you may have clinical depression, which may have a physical cause.

    #29: Do you have a living will and/or health care proxy/power of attorney? Unless you have these documents outlining your wishes and designating someone to speak for you if you are too sick to speak for yourself, your wishes may not be honored and decisions may be made by people who don't have your best interests in mind.

    #30: Did you know that accidents are the #1 cause of death for people under 50? Do you wear your seat belt? Do you secure your firearms? Do you make sure that electrical equipment, power tools, sharp objects, matches, and toxic chemicals are secured? Do you use the proper protective equipment at work and play? Do you avoid driving drunk or riding with someone who has been drinking? Do you have working smoke detectors and fire extinguishers?