Your test results in your twenties establish your baseline numbers, which means they'll help your doctors down the road. So get the battery at your annual physical exam: height, weight, body-mass index, vision, skin health, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels — the works. If your cholesterol looks good at 20, Brahmbhatt says you can have that rechecked only every five years until you hit 40.
Your twenties are also prime time to get your mental health evaluated. “Depression, anxiety, and attention-deficit disorder are very common in men and can start at a young age,” Brahmbhatt says. “But because there’s a cultural stigma around mental health, it can be difficult to bring up and problems get missed.” Primary care doctors can use questionnaires and other screening tools to assess you, so don’t be shy to raise the topic.
Next, be sure to get an annual flu shot. And if you’re highly sexually active or have had a high-risk encounter or relationship, Brahmbatt recommends HIV testing once a year. For other STDs, he says screening every two years should suffice, but if you notice any alarming symptoms, get tested immediately.
Don’t forget to stay on top of your dental health in your twenties. This is when many men stray from yearly checkups thanks to lack of insurance or not seeing the need. However, once- or twice-a-year teeth cleanings can spare you painful — and expensive — dental work later.
Outside the doctor’s office, Brahmbhatt advises surveying your entire body regularly for odd-shaped moles, red spots, and other signs of skin cancer. Also do self-checks for testicular cancer once a month. This disease is rarely deadly, but it’s the most common cancer among men under 35. Just hold one testicle at a time between your thumbs and hands, roll it gently between your fingers, and feel for any lumps or changes in consistency, shape, or size.
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