Health checks you need to be on top of

Feeling good and looking great comes from taking care of your body inside and out. But how well do you know your body? Are you providing it with the treatment it deserves?

Staying healthy at every age
Woman at the doctor

We all know the importance of being healthy. There are a few things you can do at any age to maintain your health, such as:

  • Maintain a BMI of no greater than 25
  • Drink no more than two standard drinks each day, with two alcohol-free days per week
  • Cut the cigarettes
  • Exercise regularly for both your body and mind

But there are also a number of health checks you should be aware of. Regular health checks will not only help you stay fit and well but they are essential in picking up early warning signs of disease or illness. Many diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer can be more effectively treated if they are picked up early so it’s important to get yourself checked over at least once a year.

So, just what health checks should you be getting?

In your 20s and 30s

You’re fit, young and healthy. So don’t let any niggling health problems sneak up on you — here are the checks you need to remember.

Pap smear

“You need to get a pap smear every two years after you become sexually active. This is important for detecting the early changes of cervical cancer and are required even if you’ve had the Gardasil vaccine,” says Dr Sarah Latreille, GP and researcher at the University of Melbourne.

Chlamydia

Equally important, according to Dr Latreille, is an annual chlamydia test. “Chlamydia is more often asymptomatic than symptomatic in women, and if left undetected can cause pelvic inflammatory disease with subsequent chronic pelvic pain and even infertility,” she says.

Blood pressure

It’s a good idea to get your blood pressure checked every two years unless it is 120-139/80-89 or higher. This can be done by your GP or keep an eye out at your local pharmacist for testing days.

Teeth

Keeping your teeth in good health is about more than just looking good. Healthy teeth means a healthy you, so get them checked and cleaned every year.

Cholesterol

Unless you have a high risk of developing heart disease, are obese, have diabetes or kidney problems, the most important thing you can do for your cholesterol is to eat a healthy diet.

Pregnancy

If you’re wanting to have children, now may be a good time to visit your GP to talk about your lifestyle and vaccination status. “You should go to the doctor before you start trying to conceive to talk about your diet and lifestyle and to check your immunity for rubella and chicken pox,” suggests Dr Latreille.

Mental health

You look after your body, so don’t neglect your mind! Prevention really is the best cure when it comes to a number of mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. Bring up any issues with your GP and don’t be afraid to ask for a referral if you think talking to someone will help.

Up next: Health checks for your 40s and 50s >>

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