Although going to the doctor might be the last thing on your mind right now, regular checkups may save your health and even your life. Your doctor can perform or recommend a number of simple tests to look for problems that can rob people of their health, or catch certain conditions before they even start showing symptoms, helping you take preventive measures and maintain optimal health. Your thirties are the perfect time to focus on good habits and get tested for some important medical issues, so here is a list of some essential health checks you should consider:
Blood pressure and blood sugar
Getting a blood pressure test is simple, quick and cheap, yet both your heart and brain will thank you for doing it regularly. Done over a 12-hour fasting period, a blood sugar test is another important screening that not only helps detect diabetes, but it can also tell you if you have pre-diabetes, in which case you will have to take an additional HbA1C test to indicate the average blood sugar levels over the last three months. If the readings are normal, an annual test is sufficient. When you reach your thirties, you might want to consider doing a regular lipid profile as well, which provides you with an accurate indication of your overall heart health.
Regular eye exams
It can be quite easy to dismiss the importance of an eye exam, since many people think that there is nothing wrong with their eyes, as long as their vision isn’t impaired. However, there are many eye problems that aren’t noticeable, but that are already causing problems. Apart from checking your vision, an optometrist or ophthalmologist will do a detailed examination of your eyes, in order to rule out any serious health issues, such as cataracts, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy. As the risk of many vision-threatening diseases increases with age, your thirties are an ideal time to start scheduling regular eye exams.
Back and spinal health
Spending years doing certain sports or even simply sitting at a desk for long periods of time can be seriously detrimental for your spinal health. If you are experiencing significant back pain or any other unusual symptoms, it’s important to consult with your doctor, who will decide on the best course of treatment or therapy. While physical therapy and certain forms of physical activity, such as yoga and swimming, might be helpful for minor issues, serious spinal problems might require a more permanent solution, which should be treated by an experienced neurosurgeon, such as the world-renowned Timothy Steel. As he keeps an online journal of his operations and surgical procedures, you can easily find all of the important information about spinal surgery on his website.
Pelvic exam and Pap smear
If you are a woman in your thirties, going to regular gynecology checkups is essential for your health, as those 10 minutes of mild discomfort you will experience when your healthcare provider inserts and opens the speculum during the pelvic exam, could go a long way towards protecting you from cancer, as well as infections and diseases that could cause infertility. Even though yearly Pap screening is recommended for women 21-65 years old, women in their thirties who have a normal Pap test and a negative HPV test might even only need to have this test done every five years. Another crucial screening that should be done regularly in your thirties, about every two years, is a mammogram, which helps with early detection of breast cancer and significantly reduces your risk of dying from the disease.
Mental health checkups
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Approximately one in four adults are affected by mental illness at one point in their life, but it is still an often-overlooked condition by the general population. However, it has a significant impact on our society, as suicide is the underlying cause of death for men and women aged 25-44. If you are concerned that you may be suffering from a mental illness, make sure to consult with a healthcare professional. Treatment and support can easily be provided for numerous conditions, including anxiety, depression and stress-related disorders, while a physical examination, lab tests or a psychological evaluation may be used to provide an accurate diagnosis, or even rule out other health issues that might be causing similar symptoms.
Give yourself a gift every year around your birthday, and schedule a visit to your doctor to see if there are any important tests and screenings you should take. With a simple investment of a few hours, you might be able to add years to your life.