For the young and healthy, it can be easy to put off routine tests and health screenings. Unfortunately, this can be a major mistake if you want to keep your health. Regular screenings are meant to be preventative. This means they help you catch a health issue or potential issue before it reaches a hard or impossible to treat stage. The following are some health care tasks you should begin doing in your 20s.
#1: Regular pelvic exams
Many people mistakenly think gynecological visits are only necessary if you are sexually active. This is not the case. Beginning in your 20s, you should get a routine pelvic exam and PAP smear. Depending on your health and family history, this should be done every one to three years. The purpose of the exam and smear is to check for precancerous cells, cysts, and anything else that could potentially affect your reproductive or overall health.
#2: Breast exam
If you have a history of breast cancer in your family, your doctor may advise that you begin having mammograms at regular intervals in your 20s. They may also recommend genetic testing for cancer, depending on family history. Fortunately, for most young women this isn't necessary. Instead, make sure you have a normal exam by your gynecologist at your regular visits, and learn how to perform a self exam at home. Perform the home exam monthly and call your doctor if you notice lumps or anything else odd.
#3: Annual physical
One appointment every woman should make yearly beginning in her 20s is an annual physical. This is when your doctor will check your blood pressure, cholesterol, and overall general health. This is generally a short visit for a healthy person. You will need to provide blood for the tests in advance. A general panel is typically run, which measures your cholesterol, white blood cell count, and blood glucose level. This allows you and your doctor to catch issues early. For example, an elevated white blood cell count could indicate an infection or cancer, so this would necessitate further tests. Your annual physical is the key to preventing many long term health issues.
As you can see, your medical needs when young do not take up a lot of time. For most healthy women in their 20s, an investment of only one to two hours a year is necessary to have all the tests and screenings done that help ensure lifelong good health. Speak with a medical professional like Holzhauer, James L for more information.