Health checks you should get in your 20s

Young adults in their 20s are at their physical peak; therefore, making good life choices and taking precautions will put them on the path to good health in future decades.

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How we look after ourselves in our 20s can impact our future health; for example, eating a healthy diet can reduce your risk of heart disease and other chronic problems such as diabetes. To maintain a healthy weight, exercise regularly and avoid eating processed and fast foods. Exercise will help to build bone mass and reduce the risk of osteoporosis in later life. If you exercise for 30 minutes a day, encompassing running and strength-training, you will feel the benefits as you get older.

Preventative care

Medical health checks are recommended every two years, including blood pressure screening, and women should regularly self-check their breasts for lumps or irregular abnormalities. Smear tests are offered by the NHS to women aged 25-49 every three years, and every five years to women aged 50-65. For the prevention of cervical cancer, it is important to attend these tests, as better outcomes result from early diagnosis.

Sunburn

Always wear a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 when out in the sun; in addition, wear sunglasses to protect your eyes to reduce the risk of skin cancer, vision problems, and premature ageing of the skin.

Habits

Avoid drinking excessively, and never drink and drive or get into a vehicle with a person who has consumed alcohol. Avoid illegal substances and do not start smoking, as nicotine is highly addictive and can cause a number of serious health problems.

STI

As you are likely to be more sexually active in your 20s, it is important to be tested for STIs. Infections such as chlamydia, which is typically asymptomatic in women, can affect fertility. If you are too embarrassed to go to a health clinic, you can obtain London STI testing kits from sites run in partnership with the NHS, such as https://www.checkurself.org.uk/order-a-test-kit/.

HPV

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is an infection transmitted by sexual intercourse. A Pap smear test, which looks for changes to the cells in the cervix before developing into cancer, can check whether this is present.

Finally, check your family health history to determine your genetic risk for certain medical conditions and advise your health care provider about these risks

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