When you’re young and healthy, it’s easy to let doctor’s appointments fall by the wayside. However, early preventative measures are key to good health later in life — starting with these five exams.
In your twenties, it can often feel like a perfect bill of health is a given at your annual physical, so you let those other appointments go unscheduled.
As long as an emergency doesn’t pop up, many of us feel comfortable writing off routine checkups as a waste of time and money. For this reason, many of us don’t receive proper physicals and medical exams, putting us at risk of declining health in the future.
So before you pass the three-decade mark, take the time to get several simple evaluations performed.
1. Blood Pressure and Cholesterol Check
It’s never too early to make sure your heart is healthy. During every visit to the doctor, your blood pressure will be gauged, and a preliminary cholesterol test will establish your baseline — if your numbers are high, be sure to check them frequently as time goes on.
Also, you’ll be evaluated for the top risk factors for heart disease, as the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute explains.
2. Vision Check
Even if you have perfect vision, it’s important to keep an eye on the health of your eyes. Even if you don’t need glasses, your optometrist will still check for more serious afflictions, like glaucoma, which can damage your eyesight, decrease peripheral vision, and even lead to blindness.
Also, the health of your eyes is often indicative of your level of general health, so there’s no harm in finding out everything’s in good order.
3. Dental Check
Keep your teeth healthy and happy by making annual trips to the dentist for preventative examinations and cleanings, as consistent dental checks will help prevent tooth decay, gum loss, and gingivitis. Remember, the mouth is the gateway to the body, and proper hygiene helps ensure total wellbeing.
4. Skin Check
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. Melanoma is the most serious type of skin cancer, and incidents are on the rise.
To quote: “From 1973 to 2004, melanoma incidence among males age 15 to 39 increased by 61 percent, while incidence among females in the same age group more than doubled.”
Your doctor should conduct thorough skin checks during every visit to make sure any suspicious moles or marks are dealt with immediately — before they develop into something far more serious.
5a. For Guys: Prostate and Colorectal Screening
Lots of men shy away from these exams for obvious reasons, but they are an absolute necessity. The American Cancer Society recommends that you start getting regular prostate and colorectal screenings in your 20s, especially if you are at an increased risk for certain types of cancers due to family history or a genetic predisposition.
5b. For Girls: Pelvic and Breast Exams
The American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecologists recommends annual pelvic exams for women 21 and older to both examine the health of internal organs and screen for cervical cancer.
Similar to prostate exams, annual breast exams are especially important if you’re at a high risk for breast cancer due to family history. These exams are quick and painless, and are crucial to identifying the main risk factors and early signs of illness.
Knowledge Is Power
Staying up to date on your health at a young age equips you to make necessary lifestyle changes before it’s too late. Whether it’s cutting down your consumption of red meat or regularly applying sunscreen, adopting healthy habits and recognizing early signs and symptoms can be a literal life saver.
But to be clear, staying up to date doesn’t mean you need to spend every waking moment in the doctor’s office. Remember to ask your doctor based on your test results what cadence of check-up makes the most sense for you.
However, for many young people without insurance, regular exams and screenings simply cost too much. For individuals without insurance, as well as the underinsured and those looking to skip the deductible, there’s SingleCare.
SingleCare provides access to a network of top-rated doctors at reduced rates for almost all routine care. They negotiate for you, offering discounted rates of up to 50% off what you would pay with insurance, and allow you to schedule appointments on an as-need basis — all without premiums or monthly subscription fees.
With one click, a host of doctors’ offices, pharmacies, imaging centers, and hospitals are at your service.
(Main image credit: COM SALUD/flickr)