NZ Woman's Weekly

How healthy are you?

How healthy are you?

As you slowly recover from the overindulgences of the festive season and start thinking about those New Year’s resolutions, now is a good time to check in with your body. With some simple questions, you can get a good idea of whether you’re looking after yourself – or not.

DO YOU OFTEN GET LESS THAN SEVEN HOURS SLEEP A NIGHT?
If you answered YES:
Try going to bed at least an hour earlier. People who regularly get less than seven hours sleep a night have a greater risk of developing conditions like heart disease and diabetes. They are more likely to have problems concentrating and remembering things, and may be more prone to gaining weight.

DO YOU EXERCISE FOR MORE THAN 90 MINUTES A WEEK?
If you answered YES:

That’s the minimum you should be doing to benefit your health, according to many experts. An hour and a half of aerobic exercise every week will help to exercise your heart, pump blood more effectively around your body and burn calories. Of course you can do more than this, and mix strength and flexibility training with cardio workouts.

HAVE YOU HAD A SMEAR TEST SOMETIME IN THE LAST THREE YEARS?
If you answered YES:

You’re taking important steps to protect your health. Women who have regular smear tests every three years reduce their risk of developing cervical cancer by up to 90%. It can take around 10 years for abnormal cells to become cancerous and having regular smears can pick up changes early enough to treat before cancer develops.

DO MOST OF YOUR MEALS COME READY-MADE OUT OF A JAR OR A PACKET?
If you answered YES:

Pre-packaged foods are great when you’re pushed for time, but they may contain lots of preservatives and additives and have high levels of salt and sugar. It’s better for your health to make things such as pasta sauces yourself from scratch and avoid highly processed foods. Have pre-packaged meals occasionally, not every day.

DO YOU EVER SUFFER FROM A BLOATED TUMMY?
If you answered YES:

While it could be due to what you’ve just eaten and how much you’ve scoffed, constant bloating could also be a sign of a health issue like irritable bowel syndrome, coeliac disease, food intolerance or Crohn’s disease. It may also be one of the symptoms of ovarian cancer so you should always see your GP if you suffer from persistent bloating, especially if you also have abdominal or pelvic pain.

HAVE YOU RECENTLY LOST WEIGHT WITHOUT TRYING?
If you answered YES:

While many of us would love to drop a few kilos without putting in any effort, unintentional weight-loss is not always a good thing. It could be due to an overactive thyroid, an infection, depression or cancer. You should always get unexplained weight-loss checked out.

DO YOU SPIT OUT PINK-TINGED TOOTHPASTE WHEN YOU CLEAN YOUR TEETH?
If you answered YES:

Your gums are bleeding, which may be due to vigorous brushing, but it could also be a sign of gum disease. Bleeding gums can also be due to leukaemia, an infection or a vitamin K deficiency.

DO YOU HAVE A PERSISTENT COUGH?
If you answered YES:

Possible causes of chronic coughing range from asthma and allergic rhinitis though to sinus problems and reflux. It can also be a sign of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, gastric reflux, a respiratory tract problem, bronchitis, whooping cough or cancer.

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