Even in your twenties, you should have a doctor that you can visit regularly

If you are a young adult in your twenties and consider yourself in good health, going to the doctor for a checkup may be high on your priority list. Almost 50 percent of people in their twenties do not even have a primary care doctor.

But for those in their 20s, having a doctor you see regularly may be more necessary than you think.

Alison Rove, MD, a primary care physician and clinical assistant professor of internal medicine at the University of Michigan, believes this is essential.

“The truth is, things do happen. If you get sick, that gives you someone to see,” she said. “Having a relationship with a primary care physician gives you someone to call when you need someone, even if you think you’ll never need to. Somebody.”

Richard Chung, MD, a specialist in adolescent and youth medicine at Duke Health, agrees. “Many health issues, especially in this early adulthood, may not be obvious to a person…yet they have health implications today as well as in the distant future,” Chung says. “So having a scan…is just a great opportunity to confirm that these problems didn’t start for a particular young man.”

A variety of chronic conditions can begin to develop in your twenties – or even earlier – which can be harmful in the long term if left untreated.

for example, more than five of adults in the United States between the ages of 18 and 39 have high blood pressure. Although it may not cause problems in the short term, if left untreated, it can lead to other serious conditions such as heart disease, kidney disease and stroke later in life. Fortunately, doctors can easily check for high blood pressure in appointments, and can recommend lifestyle changes and medications if needed.

similarly, Almost a quarter of adults aged 18 to 44 years have prediabetes, which without treatment generally progresses to true diabetes. Fortunately, as with high blood pressure, prompt recognition and lifestyle changes can help prevent bloodstream consequences. However, if caught too late, some health effects may be irreversible.

These are just a few examples of why a young adult can benefit from seeing a doctor at least every few years.

If you find yourself going to the doctor for the first time since you saw the pediatrician, here’s what you can expect:

How old is too old to see a pediatrician? Is she 26?

Routine checks are fairly standard, which means you generally know what to expect. Once you check in for your appointment, you can expect to complete the screening tests. For example, you may be asked to fill out a questionnaire about signs or symptoms of depression. Next, the medical assistant will take your pulse, blood pressure, and temperature, and measure your height and weight.

Once the doctor is in the clinic room, the visit usually begins with getting to know you and addressing any specific concerns you may have. “If you come into the office not just to establish care but because a loved one is urging you to take care of something or someone to look at a mole, or you have a lot of anxiety or you are interested in contraception – whatever that is – we will deal with that first, Leave it out of your mind,” Raff said.

You should also be prepared to talk about your medical history. What is their health history? Chung said. “What conditions have they been diagnosed with in the past? What injuries, procedures or other aspects of their health history should we know so we can understand who they are and what they might need? If they are taking over-the-counter medications or treatments of any kind.” This is very relevant, so that we have a full context for the assessment and recommendations for that day.”

It is equally important to know the health of your family members. “So does everyone in your family have heart disease, or is it common for people to get a certain type of cancer really early on? Then we’ll go through what we can do to prevent it for you,” Ruff said.

Finally, the doctor will ask you about your “social history”. In this part of the visit, the doctor will ask about behaviors that contribute to health.

“It’s really important for young people to know that we do this on every visit… We really need to understand their general health habits,” Rove said. “So do you smoke? Do you use e-cigarettes? What does your relationship with alcohol look like? And it’s important for people to know: It’s okay to have a relationship with alcohol, it’s okay to have an active sex life. … We want to make sure you do these things and participate in these things.” Behaviors as safely as possible.”

After completing the record, a thorough physical examination comes from head to toe. The goal is to “make sure there are no signs of potential health problems,” Chung said.

Toward the end of the visit, your doctor will work with you to determine the next steps.

“The health care provider will make a recommendation about what might be needed that day to keep this young person healthy. So this could be an update on immunizations, it could be getting certain lab tests for screening, or just making recommendations about healthy behaviors or other things,” he said. Chung.

While many screening tests are not recommended until later in life, there are still many tests recommended for younger adults.

People in their 20s who have a cervix need a Pap smear every three years, although the interval may be shorter if you’ve had abnormal results in the past. Sexually active people can expect to be screened for routine STIs, many of which may be asymptomatic, and it is recommended that everyone be tested for HIV at least once in their life and in many cases for hepatitis C as well.

Depending on your risk factors, your doctor may recommend other blood tests to check for conditions such as diabetes and high cholesterol.

Hepatitis C and the case for further testing of this viral liver infection

You can expect fewer vaccinations than in childhood, although it’s never too late to make up for vaccinations you may have missed, such as the HPV vaccine.

You’ll also need a tetanus booster shot every 10 years, and it’s highly recommended that everyone get a flu shot every year. Of course, your doctor will ask you if you have received all the recommended doses of the coronavirus vaccine. Depending on your medical condition, your doctor may recommend other vaccinations or screening tests.

Raff pushed home the importance of annual checkups even for young adults: “I think having a primary care doctor that you can go to, who knows you, who can answer basic questions, and treat you for everything from a cold to cancer, is important. And I think having that relationship is crucial” .

Natana Markowitz, M.D., resident in internal medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess/Harvard Medical School in Boston.

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