3 Self-Exams You Aren’t Doing (But Should Be)

The Doctors co-hosts Andrew Ordon, MD. Jim Sears, MD, Lisa Masterson MD and Travis Stork, MD recommend these three self-exams for our health we all easily can do at home.

Lymph Node Check
Take the pads of your fingers and gently roll them over your neck, feeling for little nodules. Do the same in your armpits (press a little harder) and groin. You may feel no bumps, or small, rubbery nodules that are freely mobile and don’t hurt much when pressed. Both are OK. But visit a doctor if you notice any bumps that are:

1. Over half an inch in diameter
2. Fixed in place
3. Hard rather than rubbery
4. Underneath red or tender skin

Most inflamed lymph nodes are not serious. Occasionally, though, lymph nodes that are hard or swollen can indicate conditions like leukemia or lymphoma.

Root Canal Predictor
If you’ve been having tooth pain, use this test to determine whether you might need a root canal. Hold some ice water in your mouth for a few seconds. Wait a bit; then tap gently on each of your teeth with the underside of a spoon. Does the cold or pressure cause more sensitivity or pain in one specific tooth? If so, check with your dentist to see if that tooth needs attention.

Macular Degeneration Detector
Print out an Amsler grid, which looks like a piece of graph paper with a dot in the center (find one at ). Hold the paper at the same distance you would for reading (wear glasses if you normally do), and focus on the dot while you cover one eye. Repeat with the other eye. You should see the entire grid with straight lines, right angles, and visible borders. If anything seems distorted, mark it on the page and take it to your eye doctor. Amsler grids can help flag the first signs of macular degeneration, a leading cause of vision loss in older adults.

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Originally Published in Reader's Digest