When you’re in your 20s, it can be easy to overlook basic preventative care items that will help keep you healthy for years to come. But with the help of a caring healthcare team like the staff at CHP, it’s simple to stay on top of it. Care can look a little different for men and women, but there are a few things that just about everyone needs to do. Here are a few routine tests and appointments to make, helping you take charge of your health in your 20s.
It’s best to schedule an appointment with your primary care provider annually. This wellness visit typically includes a breast and pelvic exam, an overall health assessment, and checks for sexually-transmitted infections if you’re sexually active. It’s also a good opportunity to chat with your provider about general health concerns.
For most women, it’s no longer recommended to have a pap smear annually, so every three years is a good benchmark for this important test that screens for cervical cancer. Your healthcare provider can take a look at your unique case and make a recommendation for how often you should be screened. This test takes a sample of cells from the cervix to check for cancerous and precancerous tissue, helping to catch problems early and keep you healthy.
It’s easy to overlook booking your annual primary care visit, but scheduling a yearly testicular exam is an important part of taking charge of your health as a man in your 20s. Testicular exams screen for lumps and swelling, which can be key warning signs of something amiss. Testicular cancer is one of the most common cancers that affect young men, so regular self-exams and yearly exams performed by your healthcare provider are vital for catching issues early.
You don’t want to neglect your hearing, even in your 20s. Hearing loss can happen so gradually; it can be easy to miss the signs when you’re young. But by catching hearing loss early, you may be able to make adjustments to your habits or environment to help save your hearing longer. Every ten years, remember to schedule a hearing test with your healthcare provider.
Though most people don’t consider their cholesterol until their 20s are behind them, it’s important to track your cholesterol earlier than you may think. Also known as a lipid panel, this test can give you a head’s up if you should make any lifestyle or dietary changes now to help manage your cholesterol going forward. Providers recommend that you start testing every five or so years once you turn 20. When you schedule the test, your provider will let you know whether you need to fast beforehand (usually not eating 9 to 12 hours before the test) or not. From there, it’s a simple blood sample.
Depending on your genetics and how much time you spend in the sun, you might have a higher risk of skin cancer, so even if you lather up on SPF—and especially if you don’t—it’s a good idea to get a skin cancer screening every three years, even in your 20s. This is a visual exam where your healthcare provider will check your skin for unusual moles and other lumps that might signal skin cancer. Your healthcare provider will be able to let you know what to be proactive about, helping you care for your health for years to come.
To talk with a healthcare provider about what preventative care options are right for you at any stage in life, or to schedule a test or appointment, CHP’s helpful staff is here to help. Get in touch today to make an appointment.
For more information about the preventative care, you should be doing at every stage of life, download our Preventative Care Checklist.