Youth and health are often seen as two sides of the same coin. For the most part, younger people are more resilient to infection and disease. For most people, it’s only when you start getting on a bit that you begin to notice a deterioration in your health (or more severe issues cropping up.) However, there are a number of health problems that occur mainly in adolescents and young adults, which goes to show that youth and health don’t always go hand in hand. Because these things are often ‘hidden’ or invisible until they cause serious issues, it’s important to be aware of them and attend any medical appointments that fit your situation. Here are a few of the screenings recommended for adolescent and young people.
Cardiac/ Heart Screening
Sudden death caused from cardiac abnormalities is very common in young people. While it can happen during heavy exercise, it can also occur during day to day activities or even in sleep. Athletes are recommended to have heart screenings, as well as anyone who has had a sudden death in the family due to cardiac issues. Most heart screenings should begin around age twenty. In the UK they screen even younger, and run a program which can check all young people between the ages of fourteen and thirty-five. If you’re at risk, even if you’re young it’s important to speak to your doctor. The screening processes for cardiac problems include blood pressure, cholesterol and lipoprotein tests. You will also have your bodyweight taken and some health and lifestyle questions asked. These include things like whether you smoke and about your diet and exercise habits.
Adolescents and young people are the groups who are consistently affected most by STDs. A lack of education, multiple sexual partners, embarrassment about speaking to a healthcare professional or the inability to get to a health center can all account for this. Sexually transmitted infections don’t present symptoms for long. Sometimes they don’t show symptoms at all, and so people often don’t know that they have them. But left untreated they can cause severe damage in the body, and so screening is crucial. Chlamydia is the most common of all STDS, and left untreated it can cause infertility in both men and women. If you have been affected and can’t get to a doctor, you can buy chlamydia treatment online.
Infectious diseases including meningitis, hepatitis, measles, mumps and rubella are all more common in younger people. There are vaccinations for some of these diseases which most people have in childhood. However if for any reason you didn’t have yours (or have come from a country which did not routinely give these) you could be at risk. Some strains of these illnesses can’t be vaccinated against. For this reason, outbreaks often occur in young people who are living in close proximity to each other often occur. This includes places like colleges and universities. First-year students are at most risk of illnesses such as meningitis, this is because their bodies are coming into contact with new bugs and germs that they have never met. While of course infectious diseases can affect people at any age, they’re definitely more of a risk when you’re younger!
As a general rule, the older you are, the more at risk you are for most cancers. This includes things like breast cancer in women, prostate cancer in men, lung cancer, skin cancer and a whole host of others. However, there are certain cancers which are much more likely to strike you down in your youth. In women, this includes cervical cancer. Cervical cancer is usually a result of damage caused by the HPV virus. This is symptom-less; there’s no cure, and many women are able to clear it from their bodies naturally within two years. However, in others, it can lead to cell changes and abnormalities that can go on to become cancerous. Almost half of all diagnoses of cervical cancer are in women under the age of thirty-five. Luckily thanks to exemplary screening processes, it’s usually caught at a very early and treatable stage. In men, testicular cancer is the most frequently diagnosed between the ages of twenty and thirty-four. As with cervical cancer, testicular cancer is one of the most curable types. So providing you speak to your GP as soon as you spot any issues, you will most likely make a full recovery. However, it goes to show that age doesn’t mean you’re immune from these kinds of things. And your risk factor can actually go down for them as you get older!