It can be easy to avoid regular checkups when you’re in your 20s and 30s—especially when you’re young, relatively healthy and busy.
But, the ability to maintain good health throughout your life relies heavily on how you set healthy lifestyle habits when you’re young. By scheduling routine health checkups, you can ensure you’ll catch signs of—and potentially prevent—illnesses or other conditions early.
Here’s what to keep in mind when it comes to maintaining healthy 20s and healthy 30s.
Get Your Annual Physical
Find a general physician you like, and speak with them about how often you should get a physical.
Physical exams help screen for early signs of diseases and conditions. These conditions include high blood pressure or cholesterol and can cause long-term health complications if left unaddressed. Identifying potential problems allows your doctor to schedule intervention and treatment, which in turn improves your chances of recovering from illnesses or their side effects.
Women in their 20s should also schedule annual “well-woman” visits. These visits may include a full physical exam, pelvic exams, and pap smears at least once every three years to screen for diseases like cervical cancer.
Update Your Immunizations
Don’t forget to check and update your immunizations. Consider getting an annual flu shot as well. After you turn 19, be sure to book a TdAP — that is, tetanus-diphtheria and acellular pertussis (whooping cough) booster — every ten years. You may also need the following immunizations:
- Chickenpox vaccine
- Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine
- Pneumonia vaccine
Visit the Dentist at Least Once a Year
Visiting the dentist at least once a year may help prevent long-term tooth loss and gum disease, in addition to keeping your pearly whites in tip-top shape. Twenty-seven percent of adults between the ages of 18 and 44 have untreated cavities. For smokers, diabetics, or those with a family history of dental issues, you may need to see your dentist more frequently.
Get Your Vision Checked, 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
Confirm Your Family History
Your healthcare providers will ask about your family medical history, since certain conditions may require more frequent checkups or annual testing. Before booking your first medical checkup, call a family member to find out what diseases and conditions run in your family.
Know 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, they 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 20s and 30s, stay on top of routine health exams and tests. A few hours of your time now is a small way to prevent and treat medical issues that could affect you for years to come.