Media releases

February 24, 2016



The majority of Australians believe good health is the most important aspiration in life, however, many are concerned they won’t be able to achieve it. Medibank recommends some simple things Aussies can do at home to be more proactive about their health, including regular 5-minute DIY health checks.

Dr Kevin Cheng, Medibank Medical Director, believes that a quick DIY health check at home can be the first step to noticing changes in our health, potentially leading to early detection.

“A quick health check at home can help to detect early signs of dehydration, anaemia, hormonal imbalance and nutritional deficiencies. It’s imperative that we’re aware of what to look out for when assessing our own health so we can get on top of things quickly and go see a doctor if we have any concerns.

“Whilst health starts on the inside – there are many eye-ball assessments that can be undertaken ourselves by looking at our skin, eyes, mouth and nails,” said Dr Cheng.

Here are some very simple ways Australians can check their health themselves, in the comfort of their own home:

  • Skin: Your skin is a great indicator of what’s going on below the surface, so the next time you look in the mirror, take a better look. If it’s looking dull and lifeless, this could be a sign of dehydration, so make sure that you are drinking eight glasses of water a day. If you’re noticing break-outs, this could also be an indication that your digestive health isn’t running smoothly as the toxins surface in your skin. It may also be a sign of hormonal imbalance or a result of being stressed. Make sure you get adequate rest and eat plenty of fresh, nutritional food. Also, look out for any unusual moles, freckles or bruises that don’t go away and seek medical attention for these.

  • Eyes: Eyes can often give you a good indication of your health. Pull down the lower eyelid – if it’s pale, then you may be anaemic; if it’s red and lumpy, it could be due to allergies. Small waxy lumps in your eyelids can be caused by genetically high cholesterol levels. Discolouration of the white areas may be caused by sun or wind exposure. If you notice these changes, ask your GP to conduct a full health check for cholesterol and iron levels, and get an eye and allergy examination.

  • Lips: Dry and scaly lips – especially in the corners of your mouth – can be the first sign of iron deficiency anaemia, vitamin deficiency, or autoimmune disease. If your lips are feeling constantly dry, this could be the first sign that you need to work on your nutrition.

  • Tongue: A coated white tongue could be an indication of dehydration or acid reflux, which can be caused by a build-up of bacteria and debris on the surface of the tongue. In most cases, the condition is harmless and temporary and is most likely to be a sign of dehydration, but if it is ongoing, seek the opinion of your GP. Drink water or other healthy fluids throughout the day after first noticing a white tongue, and minimise any foods that may cause an upset stomach.

  • Hair: If you’re experiencing hair loss and a flaky scalp, it could be due to stress or a hormone imbalance. Consult a medical professional if the symptoms don’t change.

  • Nails: It’s important to check your nails regularly, as they’re often a good indication of your state of health. Pale or brittle shaped nails often suggest iron deficiency, whilst pitting or ripped nails are often found in people with inflammatory skin conditions such as psoriasis.

“A DIY health-check should never substitute regular visits to the doctors for a check-up, but it’s important that Aussies know what to look out for when assessing their own health.

“We recommend people visit a medical professional for health-checks such as blood tests and hearing and eye assessments, or if they’re ever unsure on what to look for. A DIY health-check every few months is a good way to accompany the work of health professionals, and for Australians to get a solid understanding of what their bodies want and need,” Dr Cheng added.

Medibank members with hospital cover have access to registered Medibank nurses on the 24/7 Health Advice Line. Medibank nurses can help you decide how to manage symptoms and complement the care given by GPs and other health professionals. Speak to a Medibank Nurse 24/7 on 1800 644 325.



About Medibank:

Medibank Private Limited is Australia’s leading private health insurer, with close to 40 years of experience delivering better health to all Australians. We look after the unique and individual health cover needs of 3.9 million members through our Medibank and ahm brands and deliver a wide range of programs to support health and wellbeing in the community. Members can access our products and services via an extensive retail, online or telephone network. We also deliver a range of complementary services including health management for government and other clients, and distribute travel, life and pet insurance. We are a strong advocate for a sustainable private health system that delivers value, transparency and affordability. Medibank Private Limited was listed on the Australian Securities Exchange in 2014 and is headquartered in Melbourne. For more information, visit


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