Your health is your wealth. It sounds like something your grandmother would drill into you, but it’s so true. In order to live life to the fullest, you need to make sure you’re on top of all aspects of your health, from mental and emotional to physical. As you get older and edge closer to your 30s, here are some tests you should be asking your doctor about.
Yes, they’re not all that pleasant, but honestly, they can save your life. From the age of 21, you need to have a smear every three years, regardless of your sexual history. This test is important to check for any signs of cervical cancer, which you want to catch early.
A complete physical
You should get two physicals during your 20s. These are basic health checkups you get at your doctor, who’ll ask you questions pertaining to your overall health, diet, exercise, lifestyle, vaccination history, and more. Your doctor will also test your blood pressure, temperature, and heart rate. A physical is sort of like a head-to-toe checkup.
If you have a health problem, such as high blood pressure, you’ll need to ensure you get screened for diabetes. However, if you’re generally healthy, you should get your blood sugar checked out at least once every three years to be sure that it’s within a healthy range.
Don’t think that you only need to start worrying about your cholesterol levels when you’re much older. It’s important to check your cholesterol numbers from when you’re in your 20s. You then might only need to have your cholesterol checked every four to six years after your first test, unless you’re at risk of heart health problems.
High blood pressure can lead to heart problems and strokes, while low blood pressure can result in weakness and fainting. If you don’t have any problems with your blood pressure, you should get it checked once a year.
They might not seem that important (which is why you keep rescheduling them), but your smile should be bright and healthy! Get your teeth checked by your dentist once or twice a year so that you can nip any infections and cavities in the bud before they become a problem and lead to some horrific consequences.
Make sure you visit your optometrist every year if you wear contacts or glasses. Otherwise, if your eyes are healthy and you don’t have any problems that warrant a trip to the eye doctor, you should have your eyes tested once every five to 10 years when you’re in your 20s and 30s.
Breast cancer screening
It’s said that you only need to have mammograms from the age of 45 (via the American Cancer Society) unless you have a family history of breast cancer. That said, you need to check your breast for lumps or any other changes such as discoloration or discharge every single month! You need to know your breasts and what’s normal for them so that you can then chat about any concerns you have with your doctor.
You should check your skin once a month. Look for any unusual moles, discoloration, bruises, and anything that seems abnormal for you so you can bring it to the attention of your doctor. When inspecting moles, remember these four rules: Asymmetry (both halves of the mole should match), Border (the mole shouldn’t have ragged or uneven edges), Color (the mole shouldn’t be uneven in color), Diameter (be wary of moles that have grown in size), and Evolving (how the mole has changed and if it looks different from other moles you have). If you’re not sure about your skin changes and if it’s healthy, chat with your doctor ASAP.
If you’re in your 20s and you’ve been sexually active before, even just once, you need to ensure you get tested for STIs regularly, especially because rare STIs are coming back! Every person from the age of 13 to 64 should get an HIV test at least once, and if you’re sexually active and younger than 25 you should be tested for chlamydia and gonorrhea once a year (via Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).
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