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Talk to Doc – 20s and 30s

Leah Sarich | posted Tuesday, Jan 27th, 2015

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It’s Day Two of my series Talk to Doc – what to ask your physician at each stage of life. Today, we’re focusing on the 20s and 30s. Dr. Raj Bhardwaj says now is the time to solidify your relationship with your family physician because it’s time for standard testing to begin. So you’re not seeing your doctor now just to treat problems like an infection, now you’re requiring pap tests, for example, for women. And it would be nice to know your doctor before a pap test and a pelvic exam. It’s also good to know what that pap test is for… to screen for cervical cancer. It’s not for, for example, testing for sexually transmitted infections.

In your 20s and 30s work life balance can also be a concern. At this time, you’re likely working extra hours trying to establish your career and Dr. Raj says you’re also learning how to cope with stress. Dr. Raj says many people in this age group resort to binge drinking on the weekends to blow off steam after a hard work week. But he suggests there are healthier ways to reduce stress and it’s also important not to let stress build up to the point where it’s necessary to take such drastic action.

This is also a good time to think about having babies or preventing them. If you’re going to be starting a family, Dr. Raj suggests talking to your doctor about prenatal vitamins, particularly folic acid which is so critical particularly in the first few weeks of pregnancy when many women don’t even know they’re pregnant. Or, if you don’t want children, talking to your doctor about what methods of birth control you’re using and outlining the various options.

In your 20s and 30s you should also start talking to your doctor about your family medical history. For example, if your dad is in his 50s or 60s and has developed heart disease that increases your risk for the disease. If your mother has developed Type 2 diabetes, that increases your risk for the disease.

In addition, it’s a good time to bring in your other medical professionals. Talk to your doctor about when to get your eyes checked by an optometrist, how often you should go to the dentist. Healthy eyes and teeth impact your overall health.

And your vaccinations may also need to be updated. Dr. Raj says for example in Grade 8 you get a tetanus shot which requires a booster shot 10 years later… in your 20s and 30s.

Tomorrow – it’s the 40s and 50s. Think more types of cancer screening and the change of life! Stay tuned!

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