Lifesaving Medical Tests You Can Do At Home

A recent study revealed that the use of diagnostic imaging (CTs, MRIs, x-rays etc) has nearly tripled since the mid-1990s.  This means that more patients are being exposed to ionizing radiation, which can increase their risk of cancer.  Additionally, advanced imaging adds about $100 billion to U.S. medical bills each year.  The increased use of imaging tests does not necessarily translate to better treatment plans as doctors and researchers are now finding that the majority of these tests do not provide valuable diagnostic information.

It doesn’t always take an elaborate imaging scan or expensive lab test to reveal a serious illness.  Simple tests that can reveal vital clues can help detect the presence of an underlying condition or the beginning of a potential health crisis.  If any of the following tests are positive, go see your doctor to make sure it’s nothing serious:


An underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) slows down your metabolism, leading to fatigue, weight gain, and other problems.
While sitting, cross one leg over the other so the calf is resting on the opposite knee. On the top leg, tap the Achilles tendon — the tissue just above the heel in the back of foot — sharply with a spoon. The ankle should flex immediately.
A delayed response may indicate hypothyroidism. Another telling sign of underactive thyroid: sudden thinning of the the outer third of your eyebrows.


Eating corn can tell you how long it takes for food to pass through your system because the body can’t digest the outer shell of the kernel.  A delay in digestion could indicate irritable bowel syndrome and gastroenteritis.  It should take between 12 and 36 hours for food to pass from the mouth to the toilet.  If the transit time is much faster or slower, and you are having other symptoms such as abdominal pain, you should see a gastroenterologist.


Draw a picture of the face of a clock, putting in the numbers.  In people who are developing Alzheimer’s disease, these drawings often look strangely misshapen or with the numbers out of place.  A visit to a neurologist can confirm or rule out the diagnosis.

Peripheral Artery Disease

Restricted blood flow in the body caused by peripheral artery disease can be evaluated by lying down on a bed on your back and elevating both legs to a 45-degree angle.  Hold them in that position for two minutes.  If one or both feet become very pale, this may indicate poor blood flow due to blocked arteries.


A quick way to test your hearing is to take a wristwatch with a second hand and go into a quiet room.  Put your finger in one ear and hold the watch next to the other, gradually moving it away.  You should still be able to hear the ticking from the watch a hand’s length away.


An irregular heartbeat, known as atrial fibrillation, means you’re five times more likely to suffer a stroke.  To test the rhythm of your heart, hold out one of your hands with the palm facing upward.  Then put the index and middle fingers of your other hand on the inside of your wrist at the base of your thumb so you can feel your pulse.  Tap out the rhythm of your pulse with your foot for one minute.
If you find that you are tapping regularly, like a clock ticking, you are OK.  If your pulse rhythm is uneven, you should follow up with your health care provider.

2 thoughts on “Lifesaving Medical Tests You Can Do At Home

  1. Have you ever thought about creating an ebook or guest authoring on other sites?
    I have a blog centered on the same topics you discuss and would love to have you share
    some stories/information. I know my audience would
    appreciate your work. If you’re even remotely interested, feel free
    to send me an email.

    • Hi Krystle,

      Thanks for the comment. I tried emailing you, but it appears it’s an invalid email address. Mind giving me another email address I can reach you at? Thanks.

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