It can be easy to avoid regular checkups at the doctor’s office when you’re in your 20’s and 30’s — after all, you’re young, hopefully strong and healthy, and busy, too.
But the ability to stay healthy and strong throughout your life relies heavily on how you treat your body when you’re young. By scheduling routine health checkups, you may be able to catch illnesses or other conditions early – and you may even be able to prevent some of them altogether.
Here’s what you should be mindful of when it comes to your health in your 20’s and 30’s.
Yes, You Need a Physical
Take the time to find a general physician that you like, and speak with them about how often you should receive a physical.
Physical exams help screen for early signs of diseases and conditions – like high blood pressure or cholesterol – that could cause health problems when you’re older. Identifying potential problems early lets your doctor arrange for immediate intervention and treatment, which in turn can improve your chances of recovering from illnesses or their side effects.
Women in their 20’s should also book annual “well-woman” visits, that may include a full physical exam, pelvic exams and pap smears at least once every three years to screen for diseases including cervical cancer.
Don’t forget to update your immunizations. Consider getting an annual flu shot, and after you turn 19, book a TdAP — that is, tetanus-diphtheria and acellular pertussis (whooping cough) booster — every 10 years. You may also need the following:
- Chickenpox vaccine
- Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine
- Pneumonia vaccine
Visit a Dentist Yearly
Want to keep your pearly whites in prime chomping condition? You’re going to have to go to the dentist. Twenty seven percent of adults between 18 and 44 have untreated cavities. Visiting the dentist at least once a year may help prevent long-term tooth loss and gum disease. Smokers, diabetics, or those with a family history of dental issues may need to see their dentist more frequently.
See an Eye Doctor Even If You Don’t Wear Glasses
Even if you have 20/20 vision, regular eye exams can help detect early signs of disease. Your eye doctor can check for the following:
- High blood pressure
Check Your Family History
Before booking your first medical checkup, call a family member to find out what diseases and conditions run in your family. Your healthcare providers will likely ask about your family medical history, as certain conditions may require more frequent checkups or annual testing.
When to Visit a Specialist
If you suspect you’re at high risk for certain diseases and conditions, see your general physician first. If needed, he or she will arrange a referral to a specialist, such as a gynecologist for female reproductive issues, or a dermatologist for skin conditions.
Even if you’re the picture of good health in your 20’s and 30’s, stay on top of routine health exams and tests. A few hours of your time now is a small price to pay for preventing and treating medical issues that could affect you for years to come.