Health is not a one size fits all thing – far from it in fact.
Over time our health concerns change, usually as our awareness of burgeoning health issues grows.
However, taking preventative steps early on in life can have a major impact on the health issues that can affect us later in life.
Preventative measures and early detection can prevent or delay the onset of many conditions often associated with aging.
This can vary from something as simple as putting on sunscreen to tailoring exercise and health checks to build a body that will be better able to cope with challenges as you age.
Of course, the health checks you should have done in your 20s are not limited to your 20s, as many will actually need to increase in frequency as you age, so the checks in the lists are cumulative, adding up to one almighty health check as you get older. WH
In your 20s
High blood pressure has been linked to heart disease, stroke and various other very serious health issues.
However, by the time most people start paying attention to it, it has already done a lot of damage, much of which cannot be reversed.
The only way to stay on top of your blood pressure is to have it checked regularly, and it is never too early to start.
Having your cholesterol checked early can help you make small lifestyle changes that can have a big impact later in life.
This is especially important if there is a history of high cholesterol in your family and high cholesterol can be a contributing factor to heart disease. Have your cholesterol checked once every five years at least, or more often if you are found to have high cholesterol.
The scourge of our time, obesity rates are out of control globally. Over time, obesity can contribute to health problems like heart disease and diabetes, so maintaining a healthy body weight is of vital importance to future health.
It is important to keep the health of your skin in mind, especially in climates like Cayman’s where people tend to spend a lot of time outside.
Keep an eye on moles or irregularities on the skin, and have them checked out by your doctor should you notice any changes. Early detection can make a big difference in the fight against skin cancer.
Your energy levels should still be high, and with fewer responsibilities that you are likely to face later in life, this is the perfect time to get to work on an exercise routine.
It is also important that weight bearing exercise done now can help build bone mass that could be very useful later on in life.
Science also suggests that heart and lung capacities start a downward trend after 25, although you don’t have to believe that if you don’t want to.
In your 30s
The thyroid gland helps regulate your body’s energy use through the hormones it produces, which makes the function of this gland of vital importance to your overall wellbeing.
It is important to get a thyroid check by the time you hit 35 in order to keep tabs on how the thyroid is performing.
Although those who wear glasses or contact lenses may well be used to getting their eyes checked regularly to see whether the strength of their prescription is still correct, many others don’t, yet find themselves leaning ever closer to the computer screen.
By the time you reach your 30s you should probably have your eyes checked around twice a year in order to protect your vision and prevent further deterioration.
Pap smear and breast exams:
Early detection of cancer is vital when it comes to improving the odds of recovery.
Women should get an annual Pap smear to help detect early signs of cervical cancer, as well as a breast exam to check for any suspicious lumps.
For many, family and job commitments means that around age 30 things start going wrong when it comes to exercise.
Muscle mass can also start a period of natural decline, with less muscle mass meaning fewer calories burnt, starting a downward spiral. This makes weight training an important element of fitness after 30.
In your 40s
Even if you have taken all possible precautions earlier in life to avoid diabetes, having your blood sugar level checked can become really important in your 40s, as it can be an indicator of diabetes.
This can increase the risk for various health issues, including heart attack.
As the risk of breast cancer increases with age, it is advisable that women over 40 have a mammogram done every one or two years to ensure early detection of any potential problems.
With metabolism and muscle weight heading downward fast, weight training becomes a very important component of fitness. However, aerobic exercise is also important to keep the weight off, even though it need not be particularly vigorous exercise.
In your 50s
Colon cancer has become one of the most common cancers in the United States, and a colonoscopy will help detect early signs of colon cancer.
As with all cancers, early detection is a vital component of successful treatment.
The risk of prostate cancer in men increase after the age of 50, so it may be advisable to have a prostate screening done after consultation with your doctor to determine whether there is any cause for concern.
Osteoporosis is a common problem as women age, but early testing can help to serve notice of any cause for concern before it becomes a full-blown problem.
Flexibility starts to decline at this age, so stretching should form a central part of any exercise regime.
However, someone who has been training regularly should be able to continue tough workouts without scaling back too far.
If you haven’t been paying attention to exercise, it is never too late to start, but start slowly – you’re no longer in your 20s so your body takes longer to adapt to exercise and takes a whole lot longer to recover from injury. WH