No one wants to go to the doctor and be poked and prodded while undergoing tests, but what’s worse than that is the alternative: not knowing what’s going on inside your body. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the 10 important health checks you need to have before you hit the big 30.
If you’re sexually active, you should be getting STD tests even if you always use protection. There are some STDs, such as herpes, that can be passed on between people from skin-to-skin contact. By protecting yourself, you can prevent symptoms such as infertility in the case of STDs like chlamydia. It’s also good to remember that many STDs can be treated with meds, but you might not know you have them. So get tested!
Always pay attention to your skin. Look for any strange changes, such as scaliness or redness, and obviously always inspect your moles! If anything looks a bit odd or you have new skin symptoms that were never there before, it’s time to get it checked out by a doctor. FYI, when checking your moles, always look for these four things: Asymmetry, meaning that if you drew a line down the middle of the mole it wouldn’t look the same on both sides; Border, meaning that there’s an uneven border around the mole; Color, as it’s a red flag if your mole has lots of different colors in it; Diameter, because you should be wary of spots that are growing; and E for Evolving – always chat to your doctor about spots that are changing.
Seriously, these should start long before you hit your 30s. You should get your eyes tested at the age of 18 and then every two years after that to make sure your peepers are in great condition.
Blood pressure test
If you’ve never had your blood pressure checked, it’s time to do it. If you have high blood pressure you might not even know it, but it can be dangerous. High blood pressure is linked to health conditions such as heart disease and stroke.
You don’t have to wait to be sexually active to have this test. When you hit 21, you need to have a pap smear every three years so that any cervical cancer cells can be spotted and treated ASAP. It’s just better to be on the safe side.
Keep your teeth healthy! Checking in with your dentist at least once a year will help to keep your pearly whites in great condition. In addition, your dentist will be able to spot some other health conditions in your body by looking at your teeth, such as reflux disease (like if your teeth are being worn away by acid), osteoporosis, and even some cancers.
These are checks you should do yourself in the comfort of your own bathroom. Check your breasts for any changes, such as swelling, redness, pain, or lumps. This should be done monthly so that you stay clued up about what’s normal for your breasts and what should be checked out by a doctor. If anything seems strange and doesn’t go away, consult with your doctor about it.
Having high cholesterol is linked to health conditions such as heart disease, so you need to get it checked in your 20s. After that, your doctor will be able to tell you how often you should get it tested, but it’s common for it to be tested every few years.
This is usually done at the same time as your pap smear, but it’s a crucial test to get one. HPV can lead to genital warts and cancer if left untreated.
Blood sugar test
It’s a good idea to get a blood glucose test, known as the A1C test, in your 20s. This test measures your blood sugar over the previous three months and can diagnose both type 2 diabetes as well as pre-diabetes. While type 2 diabetes screening is supposed to start around the age of 45, if you have any risk factors for the disease then you might need it earlier. These risk factors include being overweight, having high blood pressure, having a first-degree relative who’s got diabetes, and having a lack of physical exercise. Check with your doctor to find out if you should have this test.
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