women

Test 3

To check…your risk of osteoarthritis

Try... Holding your hand up in front of your face, with your palm facing towards you and your fingers straight. Pay attention to the height of various fingers.

Start worrying if

Your index finger (the one next to your thumb) is shorter than your ring finger (the one next to your little finger).

Why it works

Because a UK study discovered that women with shorter index fingers – a trait that’s quite common in men – have an increased risk of osteoarthritis. The scientists aren’t sure why, but say it may have something to do with hormone levels, which can influence both finger-length ratios and the development of osteoarthritis.

Description: Pay attention to the height of various fingers.

Pay attention to the height of various fingers.

Take action

Keep your weight in check and try to avoid joint injuries – both risk factors for osteoarthritis. But that doesn’t mean saying no to exercise: a 2012 study found that leading a sedentary life was just as damaging for joints as high-impact sports like running. The key for people at risk of osteoarthritis is picking lower-impact sports, like walking and swimming.

Test 4

To check…your risk of stroke

Try... Taking your heart rate again, but measure it while you’re sitting down this time. Don’t worry too much about the beats per minute, instead tap your foot along with the rhythm of your pulse.

Start worrying if

Your pulse falls out of rhythm with your foot tapping at any stage.

Why it works

Because it might mean you’ve got an irregular heartbeat which can be a symptom of atrial fibrillation (AF), the most common type of heart irregularity. And that’s a major risk factor for stroke – people with AF are five times more likely to have one.

 

Description: Taking your heart rate again, but measure it while you’re sitting down this time.

Taking your heart rate again, but measure it while you’re sitting down this time.

Take action

If you do notice your heart often beats to an uneven, rather than a regular rhythm, see your GP. Two out of every 100 Australians have AF, but risk increases with age (one in 10 people aged over 75 have it), and up to 30 per cent of cases are undiagnosed.

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