When last did you get a thorough medical check-up? Or you think it isn’t important for you to get a medical check-up?
Being young has a lot of advantages. The young are considered strong and energetic. However, they are daring and risk-takers and are likely to engage in activities that may be considered detrimental to their health.
Young people tend to be more curious and adventurous and as such are more prone to addiction and abuse of alcoholic beverages, smoking and eating all kinds of junk foods at parties and ceremonies.
The nutritionists say that the quality of our health depends on what we eat or consume. Toxic substances obtained from unhealthy foods and other consumables build up in our bodies, weakening the body’s defense mechanisms and subsequently causing cumulative targeted sequential essential organ damages.
Recognizing The Need To Do a Medical Check-Up
Although most young adults are healthy and have optimum health status due to their well developed immune system and well functioning biological processes, a huge number lose their lives each year due to illnesses.
Over a dozen times, young people in their early and late twenties (despite their ‘enhanced’ immune system) have been identified with conditions like hypertension, diabetes, hepatitis B or C, chronic kidney disease, sexually transmitted infections, etc.
What is most unfortunate is that these cases are diagnosed at points where one or two complications have already been established and have become difficult to treat.
There are several instances in my practice as a pharmacist where young adults only see the need to seek medical attention when their condition is worsened due to complications of the disease.
Practical Examples of consequences of no medical check-ups
To exemplify, a young lady of 26 years almost lost her sight to diabetes due to the fact that she did not recognize the need to routinely check her blood sugar because she is young and had no symptoms.
Another young man in his early thirties had a stroke due to uncontrolled hypertension because he did not recognize the need to regularly check his blood pressure.
Even more pathetic was a lady of fifteen years diagnosed with hepatocellular carcinoma due to hepatitis C infection.
You can imagine the prognosis of that young girl whose future has been ruined by this virus even though this could have been treated if it was found earlier.
In fact, HIV/AIDS is another recognizable health issue of concern that young people care less about nowadays. Even with the availability of accessible screening services, young people still do not recognize the need to test and take appropriate health measures.
Even at this era, with the World Health Organisation (WHO) policies rolled out to conquer and improve quality of life of people living with HIV/AIDS, we still find young people dying of the disease.
Notwithstanding the increase in education and screening tools, lots of young women are being diagnosed with cervical cancer and breast cancer each year.
All these are real cases happening before our eyes with little attention on our part as a youth because of little concern to do a medical check-up.
What Should You Do As Young Person?
Now you know that performing health examinations or medical check-ups are very relevant to your overall wellbeing and health. You should therefore engage in some of these health behaviors;
1. Routinely check your blood pressure (BP)
You can check your blood pressure at the nearest clinic/hospital or community pharmacy. You can also check it at other places where some of these services are provided.
As a young adult, you are expected to check your blood pressure at least once every year.
You can perform Blood Pressure measurements all by yourself. All you need to do is to purchase a digital sphygmomanometer, follow the instructions on how to use it, or consult any health practitioner for assistance on how to use your device.
If your blood pressure readings are consistently above 130/90 mmHg after repeated measurements, then you should consult your doctor or pharmacist for appropriate interventions to be put in place if deemed necessary.
2. Check your blood sugar (random) at least once every year.
At any point in time, that your blood sugars are found to be above 11.1 mmol/L, you should consult your doctor or pharmacist for appropriate interventions to be made.
You can check your blood sugar at any nearby pharmacy, clinic, or hospital, or by yourself if you have the glucometer at home.
3. Get screened for hepatitis B and hepatitis C
You have to get screened for hepatitis B and when you test negative, take the hepatitis B vaccine shots.
However, if you test positive after the hepatitis B test then seek treatment or consultation with your doctor or pharmacist.
Testing can be done at any community medical laboratory or hospital laboratory and also vaccination services are available at the hospitals and some medical laboratories.
Since, there is no vaccine for hepatitis C, you have to learn how to protect yourself from it.
However, if you test positive for Hepatitis C, there is treatment available at the hospitals, and you should as soon as possible contact a doctor for treatment.
At least, you should screen for hepatitis C once in a lifetime according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations. However, if possible, you should consider screening once every 5 years.
4. Screen for HIV/AIDS and other Sexually Transmitted Infections
As a young adult, screening for HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections is very important especially after engaging in illicit sexual activities without any protection with condoms and also, after sustaining injuries or cuts with unsterilized blades or needles or sharps.
Screening services for HIV/AIDS are available in community medical laboratories, clinics, hospitals, and at many organized community health programs.
Treatment is also available, accessible, and free for you if you test positive.
5. Screening for Cervical and Breast cancer in young women
Young women should routinely engage in cervical cancer and breast cancer screening as they are more prone to these conditions in their 20’s and 30’s.
There are several walk-in health centers and hospitals in our localities that provide these services.
Breast self-examination can also be performed at least once every month to familiarize yourself with the normal feel of your breasts and also to identify on time if there is any abnormality present.
6. Get routine blood tests
It is also typically recommended to get a routine blood test at least once a year or more often than that if there are any unusual symptom(s).
Some common routine blood tests include;
- complete blood count
- lipid profile
- blood chemistry
These tests give you an idea of the presence or absence of infections, anemia status, how well some organs in your body are functioning, etc.
As young people, we are the hope of the future and our health depicts the health of the economy and world at large.
Hence, we should recognize the need to engage in routine medical check-ups. Prevention is always better than cure, so get a medical check-up now.