Adolescents and Young People: Get the Preventive Services You Need
When you were young, you probably didn't think much of going to the doctor, unless you were sick or injured. But your doctor is there in sickness and health. They can provide "preventive services" that can detect disease or help prevent illness or other problems. It is important to get these services when you are a teen or young adult.
Many conditions that occur later in life begin when you are young. Approximately 65% of all adult deaths are due to heart disease, cancer and stroke. In many cases, these diseases are preventable. Many of the behaviors that cause these illnesses start at a young age. For example, teenagers who smoke are more likely to develop heart disease, cancer, or stroke as adults.
The Way to Better Health
The preventive service you need may be testing, vaccination, or as advised by your doctor. The preventive services you need depend on your age, medical history, and family history. For teens and young adults, your doctor will likely focus on several key areas. Including:
Behavioral and social health
Reproductive and sexual health
Patient and parent information
Behavioral and Social Health
Adolescents and young adults face many everyday problems that affect their social and behavioral health. These may include violence, harassment, bullying at school, or drug use. These types of problems can affect you in a number of ways. You may be suffering from depression, anxiety, or an eating disorder. You can experiment with drugs or have unprotected sex. It is important that you talk to your GP if you are having trouble with any of these. You should also talk to your doctor if you have any of the following warning signs:
Restlessness or restlessness
Lose or gain weight
Persistent sad feeling
Not caring about everyone or everything
Lack of motivation
feel tired, lack of energy
Lack of interest in activities
Immunizations (also called vaccines) are an important part of preventive services for children, adolescents, and adults. They are safe and effective, and they save lives. The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) recommends that patients receive all necessary vaccines from their primary care physician. They may protect against diseases such as measles, chickenpox, meningitis, influenza, COVID, and human papillomavirus (HPV).
Vaccines you may need as a teen or young adult include:
Flu shot: This is given every year at the beginning of the cold and flu season to protect you against the flu.
HPV vaccine: Helps prevent the spread of the virus, which causes genital warts and certain types of cancer (most commonly cervical cancer). This vaccine is given when children are 11 to 12 years old, but older teenagers and young adults can still get it.
Tdap vaccine: A vaccine for tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough). Teens and young adults should get the vaccine when they're 11 or 12 years old, but older teens and young adults can get it, too.
Meningococcal vaccine: Meningococcal conjugate vaccine is recommended for all pre-adolescents and adolescents aged 11 to 12 years with a booster shot at age 16.
COVID-10 vaccine: This vaccine is safe for anyone 12 years of age or older. It helps you avoid getting COVID-19 and ease your symptoms if you get the virus.
Health is better than the absence of disease. It is a state of physical, mental and social well-being. Health is the key to living a productive and satisfying life. Developing healthy habits when you are a teen or young adult can reduce your risk of getting sick or injured.
When talking with your GP, you should discuss how you can stay healthy. Talk to your doctor about:
Your physical health. Exercise regularly, eat healthy, get enough sleep and maintain a healthy weight. Take care of your teeth, wear sunscreen, and don't smoke, vape/use e-cigarettes or use tobacco.
Your mental and emotional health. Learn to manage stress and develop a good balance between school, work, and social life. Pay attention to your moods and feelings, and don't be afraid to ask for help if you need it.
Your behavioral health. Protect yourself by avoiding substance use or abuse, driving safely, avoiding violence, and practicing safer sex if you are sexually active.
The habits you have now really make a difference as you get older.
Reproductive And Sexual Health
Becoming sexually active is a big decision. Contact your doctor if you are or plan to be sexually active. They can talk about your options for birth control as well as sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
There are many ways to protect your sexual health and take care of yourself. Abstinence is the only way to 100% prevent pregnancy and STIs. This means not having vaginal, anal, or oral sex. If you decide to have sex with a member of the opposite sex, you should consider some form of contraception. Different types include condoms, pills, patches, injections, implants, diaphragms, or intrauterine devices (IUDs). These can help prevent an unwanted pregnancy. Condoms are the only method that can prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.
Talk to your doctor before you start having sex. They can answer all your questions about your sexual health. They may also prescribe a form of contraception.
The AAFP believes that adolescents and young adults should have access to confidential health care. It is important to your health and well-being. You can go to the doctor alone, without a parent or guardian in the room. You will be able to do this whether you are here for a review or for advice. You need to have private, confidential discussions about making healthy decisions.
Patient and Parent Information
It is important that patients and parents have access to information that will guide teens and young adults to make healthy decisions. The AAFP encourages parents and patients to talk with their GPs about potential health risks to adolescents and how to avoid them.
Things to Consider
You may think that because you are young and healthy, you don't need to see a doctor. But it's important to consult your doctor and get preventive services. Unhealthy decisions when you are young can have consequences later on. From now on, preventive services will protect you and help you make healthy decisions throughout your life.