- Physical exam. You need to have at least two physical exams in your 20s -- more, if you have, or are at high risk for, any health conditions. Your doctor should check your height and weight during each exam and your cholesterol at least the first time. If there is any history of illness in your family, your doctor may choose to do a screening that would help detect early signs of that illness. If you are overweight and obesity runs in your family, it's important to work with your health care provider to create a positive lifestyle change program that can help you nip this in the bud, getting your weight into a healthy range. This will provide you with the best opportunity for a healthy future.
- Blood pressure screening. A normal blood pressure reading is less than 120/80. If you have no history of high blood pressure, your blood pressure should be checked every two years. If your blood pressure runs anywhere above 120 to 130 over 80 to 89 Hg, this is considered pre-hypertension. If you have pre-hypertension, or if you have diabetes, heart disease, or kidney disease, have your blood pressure checked every year. If you get your blood pressure checked at a local screening event or on an automated machine at a grocery store or pharmacy, call your doctor if the top number is over 130 or the bottom number is over 85.
- Cholesterol screening. Your cholesterol should be checked if you use tobacco, are obese, have high blood pressure or diabetes, or if a family member has had heart disease, blocked arteries, or had an early heart attack. An early heart attack happens before age 50 for men, before age 60 for women. Ask your doctor how frequently your cholesterol should be checked if you have any of these risk factors.
- Dental exam. Go to your dentist annually for a dental exam and teeth cleaning. Your dental hygienist can also check for any abnormalities in your mouth, your face, or your neck. Check with your dentist to see if your flossing is effective. In addition to keeping your teeth and gums healthy, good flossing can help prevent systemic inflammation and heart disease.
A Answers (2)
Mehmet Oz, MD, Cardiology, answeredRecommended health screenings for women in their 20s include:
The many roles that women play often cause them to neglect your own health. You need to tune in to your health needs. Pencil time onto your calendar for some important health screenings. Even if you feel great on a daily basis, it's important to get a reality check with an annual physical. During your exam, your doctor may schedule or perform routine health screenings for skin cancer, heart disease, diabetes, thyroid problems, colon cancer and many other conditions that affect both men and women.
Because you are a woman, you'll also need a few other special screenings. Here are some of the key checkups that all women need, based on the advice of leading health agencies and medical organizations:
- Pelvic exam: No one looks forward to it, but a pelvic exam is well worth the trouble because it allows your doctor to monitor the health of several key pelvic and reproductive organs and spot things like infections, sexually transmitted diseases, fibroids, cysts or any other abnormalities. Ask your doctor how often you need this exam; it's often coupled with a Pap smear.
- Pap smear: Cervical cancer can be beaten -- especially when it is detected early. Pap smears are a critical tool in that early detection. Women should begin getting them 3 years after becoming sexually active -- or no later than age 21. After that, typically every one to two years -- but consult your doctor. Some women may need more or less frequent screening, depending on age or past test results.
- Mammogram: The point at which this type of breast cancer screening should begin is highly individual, so speak with your doctor about a schedule that makes sense for you. New government guidelines suggest certain low-risk women can wait until age 50, while other health groups feel earlier screening in all women makes sense.
- Bone density check: Most women don't need to begin bone density screening until the age of 65 -- unless they have risk factors.
Promise yourself that you will make yourself top priority and do what's best for your body, no matter how hectic your life may be.