Most young adults are healthy, active, and unconcerned about health issues. Even if an occasional cold is your worst worry, a little preventative care now can result in much better health later. And the Affordable Healthcare Act requires many plans to cover routine testing at no cost to you.
Here are a few basic tests everyone should have in their 30s:
Get your blood pressure tested. Your doctor will take your blood pressure at every visit, and if there’s reason for concern, you can buy a blood pressure cuff to use at home. It’s a simple test that only takes a minute.
Have a cholesterol test. High cholesterol is a consequence of diets high in saturated fat and low in fiber…which describes the eating habits of most Americans. A simple blood test will tell you if your cholesterol is in check. Your doctor may recommend dietary changes, exercise, medicines, or a combination of all three to improve your cholesterol.
Have your eyes checked. As we age, our eyes change, and vision can deteriorate so gradually you may not even realize something has changed. Once a year starting in your 30s, visit an ophthalmologist (not an optometrist) to check on your eye health as well as your vision.
Protect your sexual and reproductive health. If you’re sexually active, it’s a good idea to get testing for sexually transmitted diseases. Even if you’re careful and use condoms during intercourse, you may be at risk from behaviors like oral sex.
- Men: Have an annual testicular cancer screening. Most women know about breast cancer screening and self-exams, but checking for testicular lumps is not as well advertised…and an exam once a year can save your life.
- Women: Have a breast exam, pelvic exam, and Pap smear once a year, and perform regular self-exams.
In addition to these tests, you should talk over your family history, health condition, and lifestyle with your doctor for additional recommendations. You may be more at risk for heart disease, diabetes, or another condition based on your comprehensive health profile, weight, or lifestyle factors including poor diet, lack of exercise, sleep deprivation, stress, and smoking.
Regular screenings for common problems, routine preventative care, and talking over concerns with your doctor can really go a long way to ensure better health well into old age. With test results in hand, you can start making small changes to improve your health today and prevent small concerns from becoming major issues.