Health

Tests and Screenings: 20s and 30s

How a sphygmomanometer (one of my favorite medical words) works. Image from nhlbi.nih.gov.

For the sake of health maintenance and long-term disease prevention, we all know that we need to visit our doctor regularly. Here are some of the key tests, screenings and immunizations that you’ll need in your 20s and 30s.

Both Men and Women

  • Blood Pressure: Have your blood pressure checked every two years. Healthy blood pressure is below 120/80.
  • Cholesterol Level: Your cholesterol should be tested at least every five years, more frequently if you’re overweight or have a family history of heart disease. There are many factors to cholesterol screenings, but the basic numbers that you’re looking for are an overall cholesterol level below 200 and an HDL level above 40.
  • Diabetes/Blood Glucose: Frequency of testing is based on past results and family history. Ask your doctor how often you should be tested. Healthy adults are looking for a fasting glucose level of less than 100.
  • Dental Checkup: Every six months is best, but aim for checkups at least once a year.
  • Eye Exam: Every two years, or annually if you already wear glasses or contacts.
  • Skin Cancer Screening: Every two years, or annually if you have a history of severe sunburns or regular tanning.
  • Immunizations: Annual flu shot; tetanus/diphtheria every 10 years; hepatitis A for those traveling abroad.

Men Only

  • Testicular Self-Exam: Check every three months.┬áThe how-to guide can be found here.

Women Only

  • Breast Self-Exam: Check monthly; the guidelines are changing, but it seems that no harm can be done from a habitual check. The how-to guide can be found here.
  • Clinical Breast Exam: Every 1-3 years at the doctor’s office for your gynecological checkup.
  • Pap Smear: A routine part of a gynecological exam that checks for cervical abnormalities. Every 1-3 years at the doctor’s office.

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