Many Spanish pharmacies offer tests to keep an eye on overall health

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KNOW YOUR NUMBERS: Keep a frequent eye on blood pressure using a home machine or one in a pharmacy. Photo: Shutterstock


WE ALL know we should keep a frequent eye on our health, whether it is to monitor existing conditions or ward against potential problems.

Among the most frequently-heard health advice we may have come across the phrase, ‘know your numbers.’

This motto is often used to refer to cholesterol or blood sugar figures, but there are in fact a series of numbers it is helpful to keep a check on. Many Spanish pharmacies offer quick and cheap tests, often with results while you wait. So which are some of the most common tests and what can they tell us?

First up is cholesterol, which can lead to heart attack or stroke if too much of the ‘bad’ type accrues in the body. There are two types of this waxy substance; low-density lipoproteins (LDL) and high-density lipoproteins (HDL). 

LDLs are considered bad as they can collect in the arteries, eventually causing blockages, whereas HDL can actually carry cholesterol away from the body to be processed in the liver. The British Heart Foundation recommends a combined total of 4 millimoles per litre of blood or less for those at high risk of some diseases.

Next is glycated haemoglobin, which indicates average blood sugar level for the last two or three months and can help indicate prediabetes, as well as types I and II diabetes.

Also important in indicating risk of fatty liver disease and pancreatitis is knowing your triglyceride levels. These chemicals are a type of fat found in the blood and can raise risk of coronary heart disease, particularly in women.

For men, a PSA test can indicate healthy prostate function. PSA is a protein produced by both cancerous and non-cancerous tissue in the prostate and testing its levels can help with early detection of any issues such as an enlarged or inflamed prostate and prostate cancer.

For men and women, monitor your kidneys with uric acid and creatinine tests, both of which can help give an insight into how well they are functioning.

Finally, keep a frequent eye on blood pressure using a home machine or one in a pharmacy or doctor’s surgery to make sure levels stay within a healthy range.

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