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In your 20’s? Here are some health checks you should consider

28 January 2021

Whether you’re working, studying or starting a family, no other time in your life is going to quite compare to your 20s. Of all the things you have to worry about, your health might not be high on the list.

Yet, the best investment you can make in your 20s is in yourself, because the health foundation you build during this decade will help shape the rest of your life.

Whether it’s cooking healthy meals from scratch, trying a new class at the gym or chatting through problems with a psychologist, the sooner you start prioritising your physical and mental wellbeing, the better.

So it could be time for a health check. Health checks are simple tests or check-ups designed to catch conditions at an early stage, particularly when there may be no symptoms.

What health checks should you be considering?

Your GP should be the first port of call to find out which health checks are a good idea for your age and stage of life. However, below we have gathered the health checks that are generally important for people in their 20s:

Blood pressure check

Your GP will want to regularly check your blood pressure from the age of 18. That’s because you can have high blood pressure and not know it, and untreated high blood pressure can cause many other health concerns. It’s a simple check that only takes a couple of minutes and should be checked at least every two years.

Dental check up

Regular dental check-ups, which are recommended throughout life, have wide-ranging benefits. That’s because conditions that affect your teeth and mouth (such as gum disease and tooth decay) can affect your overall health as well as your smile. Don’t forget to see your dentist at least once a year, but ideally every six months.

Mental health check

In Australia, it’s estimated 45 per cent of people will experience a mental health condition in their lifetime, with three million Aussies currently living with depression or anxiety. So if you’re suffering with your mental health, rest assured; you’re not alone.

If you’re trying to improve your own mental health, or support somebody else with mental health issues, Head to Health provides links to trusted Australian resources and treatment options.

You should seek help if you have concerns about your mental health, or if you’ve noticed changes in the way you’re thinking or feeling.

Your GP will conduct the initial assessment and can provide you with a referral to see a psychologist for up to six Medicare rebatable sessions. Once those six sessions are up, you can head back to your GP to ask for a referral for more rebatable sessions, with a maximum of 10 each calendar year.

Diabetes risk test

Type 2 diabetes is the fastest growing chronic condition in Australia. Tests to check whether you're at risk of developing type 2 diabetes should be started in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders at the age of 18 years and at age 40 for other Australians.

The Australian Type 2 Diabetes Risk Assessment Tool is a questionnaire that estimates your risk of getting type 2 diabetes in the next five years and should be done every three years for most people.

Sexual health check

Sexually transmitted infections (also known as STIs) mostly affect young people. For that reason, screening for STIs such as chlamydia – which often has no symptoms – is recommended for sexually active people in their 20s.
Your GP or health professional can guide you for how often you should have this check, based on your level of risk, age and sexual practices.

Skin check

In Australia, we have one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world. While you might not notice too much sun damage in your 20s, it’s a good idea to become familiar with how your skin normally looks and to see a doctor if you notice a new spot or change in a mole. This is especially important if you have a fair complexion, or if you’ve had skin cancers in the past.

You should be guided by your GP or a dermatologist for how often you have a skin check. Finding a melanoma early can save your life.

Weight check

Checks to make sure you are in a healthy weight range are recommended for all Australians. This check should be done at least once every two years by your GP, when you’re in your 20s. Maintaining a healthy weight can lower your risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, blood pressure and many different cancers.

Gender specific health checks

There are also a variety of gender health checks recommended including, but not limited to;

  1. Self-check of testicles for men
  2. Cervical cancer screening test for women
  3. Self-check of breasts for women

Your GP or health specialist can guide you on how often these checks should be done, based on your family history or initial results.

Is it time for a health insurance check-up?

Everyone’s health insurance needs are different. To help you understand what level of cover is best suited to you, get in touch with the Suncorp Health Insurance team today to learn more about the cover options.

If you’re not with Suncorp Health Insurance, but you’d like to find out more, get a quote today or contact the team on 13 11 55.

Learn about Suncorp Health Cover

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Article adapted from The Check Up.

Please note: This is not an all-inclusive list; there may be other health checks that are recommended based on your age and individual circumstances. The tips throughout this article serve as broad information and should not replace any advice you have been given by your medical practitioner. Please make an appointment with your GP to receive advice on the health checks you will need based on your personal circumstances.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are at increased risk of many diseases, and so are often recommended to start health checks at an earlier age.You may also be recommended to have the tests or checks more often. Please see your GP for personalised advice.

Suncorp Health Insurance is issued by nib health funds limited ABN 83 000 124 381 (nib), a registered private health insurer, and is marketed by Platform CoVentures ABN 82 626 829 623 (PC), a Suncorp Group company. PC is an authorised agent of nib and receives commission from nib. nib is not a part of the Suncorp Group. Read the policy booklet before buying this insurance.

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