Many people in their 20s and 30s feel invincible. However, Dr. Paul Scurti, who practices at Ohio Valley Medical Center and East Ohio Regional Hospital, wants people in this age group to understand that they are not.
"People in this age bracket should still see a doctor for an annual exam," he said.
"There are some screenings that can be done, particularly with those with certain risk factors, and that can identify problems early before they become a real issue.
"There are other lifestyle screenings that can be done, such as weight, diet, exercise, and the use of alcohol and tobacco, which can be corrected, to help before the start of heart disease. Those with certain risk factors should definitely have their cholesterol checked."
Scurti also noted those with a family history of diabetes, and those with a weight problem or high blood pressure, should also have their blood sugar levels checked.
He pointed out the earlier these factors are detected, the earlier they can be treated and the less of a problem they will become.
- Blood pressure - The only way to detect high
blood pressure is by getting it checked. High blood
pressure can lead to heart attack, stroke or kidney
failure, so it's important to get it tested at least once
- Cholesterol - Have your cholesterol checked once
every five years. If you have high cholesterol, you
should have it checked more often. Staying on top of
your cholesterol levels can help prevent heart disease.
- Skin check - It's important to have your skin
checked regularly for odd-shaped or changing moles.
Detecting and treating melanoma early is key for
beating the disease.
- Pap smear and breast exams - Women should
get an annual Pap smear to help detect early stages
of cervical cancer. Along with a Pap smear, the
doctor should perform a breast exam to check for
- Dental exam - Don't forget about oral health.
Gum disease can start early, but with regular
flossing, brushing and dental visits, the signs of gum
disease can be reversed.
- Obesity screening - Nobody likes stepping on the
doctor's scale, but maintaining a healthy weight can
prevent many future health problems, such as
diabetes and heart disease. People who have a
BMI (body mass index) of 30 or more are
- Thyroid test - Your thyroid gland produces
hormones that regulate the way your body uses
energy. You should get a thyroid check by age 35 to
help determine if the gland is functioning properly.
- Eye exam - An eye exam is the best way to protect
your vision and to prevent future eye problems. It's
best to have an eye check at least once a year in
your 20s and twice a year in your 30s.
Source: Proctor and Gamble
Certain other screenings are also done on an individual basis depending on individual risk factors.
Scurti recommends females also see their gynecologist regularly for screenings.
He suggests immunizations be kept current, such as annual flu shots, and tetanus shots every 10 years.
An HPV vaccine is also suggested for those up to the age of 26. Another general precaution is good skin care, that is using sun screen and avoiding tanning beds.
For women, the biggest health concern in their 20s is sexually transmitted diseases.
According to data from the Centers for Disease Control, more than half of the approximately 19 million new cases of STDs that occur each year are in women in their 20s.
Eating disorders also are a concern for women as well as men.
For men, STDs also are a concern. Some experts also point to risky behavior including extreme sports as a health concern for this age group.
The leading cause of death of men in their 20s and 30s is motor vehicle accidents.
Depression also can be a problem for men, especially those in their 30s.
Concerns with family, money and even health tend to crop up at this time, which can lead to increased stress both at work and at home.