- Your blood pressure
High blood pressure, or high blood pressure, often has no symptoms, but it can lead to serious health problems later in life, including kidney damage and vascular dementia. It can cause emergencies such as stroke or heart attack. Check with your doctor or pharmacist for information you read. Normal blood pressure for adults is between 90/60mmHg and 120/80mmHg. If you are outside this range, you need to take action. Read more about what normal blood pressure is and how to lower it.
- Your cholesterol level
High levels of total cholesterol, due to increased levels of “bad” cholesterol in the blood, increase the risk of heart disease and other diseases. Even if you are fit and have a good diet, it is important to know that high cholesterol can be hereditary. Knowing what you read will help you take steps to lower your cholesterol if needed.
- Your BMI
Your body mass index (BMI) is a way to calculate whether you are under, over, or underweight for your height. Being above a healthy weight increases your risk for health problems such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, and some cancers. You can find out your BMI on the NHS website. Additionally, you should measure your waist regardless of your BMI. If your waist is greater than 94 cm (for men) or 80 cm (for women), you should try to lose weight.
- Your family history
Few health conditions are caused by genes alone – most are caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. However, it is useful to know if any blood relatives have had serious health problems, as sometimes you will be asked about your family’s medical history. In addition, some people may carry the gene for a serious disease but do not have the gene themselves. Knowing this can be invaluable in family planning.
- Your blood type
There are plenty of books out there that tell you what to eat based on your blood type, but the jury is still out on the real impact of your blood type on your health. However, there are several good reasons why knowing your blood type can be useful. This can save time if you need a blood transfusion (although the blood type can be determined very quickly) or if you are pregnant (giving your baby a different type of blood can cause Rhesus disease). A great way to discover your type (while helping others) is to donate blood if you can.