Being in your 20’s is no excuse to not take your health seriously. You may not know where to start but I have broken it down to the basics. From practicing healthier lifestyle habits and doing routine checks or tests. Take charge of your health, because health is wealth.
It is very easy not to take your health seriously being in your 20’s because you feel you’re young, strong and invincible. However, the rate of young people dying from health related issues is on a constant rise which makes you wonder if there is any way to avoid some of these deaths.
We tend to take good health for granted until we are finally faced with sickness or poor health. Lately, I have been having a few health related issues which is kind of what made me woke. It made me realize I need to take my health way more seriously than I had been doing.
I want to share some basic healthy measures we should all aim to adopt. I’m no doctor or medical student but let’s talk lifestyle changes we should adopt. Then some tests and checks we should get regularly.
Firstly, the healthier habits and lifestyle changes
– Being In Tune With Your Body
Being very self-aware is essential for your health and well-being. It is important to know when your body is feeling down, when you’re over-stressed or you’re falling ill. I know a lot of people that wait till their illness gets really serious before they start treating themselves or taking a break to recover. This is not a good habit that is actually quite dangerous.
I know how much it sucks to be ill and the inconvenience of having to stop work or have your life on hold. But it would save you so much time if you start treating that flu when you show the first symptoms of a cold and headache. Rather than waiting for it to escalate till you have a fever, you’re weak, have a terrible cold and can’t do anything.
– Staying Fit and Eating Healthy
Many people believe that you need to be fat or overweight before you should be concerned about your weight and diet. This should never be the case. You literally are what your eat, your body and skin are always evidence of this.
Eating well does not mean cutting off all the snacks and treats we might love to eat grass and drink flavoured water. It involves taking little steps like cutting down on the consumption of processed sugar and unhealthy carbs, reducing the meal portions,drinking more water, reducing the amount of salt/ seasoning used in food and more.
Working out regularly is not only to lose weight, gain muscle or get toned. Regular physical activity is great for your heart, muscles and general health. Having a naturally great physique or being skinny does not mean you should stay inactive. Get active! it could be anything really as long as it makes you sweat and your heart rate goes up.
Now to the tests and checks…
Self-Examination for Breast Cancer
Breast cancer is a deadly killer for many women and if you think about it I’m sure you know of someone that has had breast cancer or died from it. It doesn’t have to hit very close to home before you become aware of it.
Self-examination are very easy, follow these steps in the picture below.
Always make sure you do one when you’re not on your period or about to be on it. This is because you tend to have more breast tissue when you are about to get your period or are on it.
Also young women are prone to finding benign cysts or lumps in their breasts. The mammograms are quite expensive and advised for older women. So an ultrasound of your titties would suffice as a check up. Also a clinical breast exam should be done at least once a year. And self breast exam, once a month.
Get Your STD Tests Regularly
Having sex comes with two disadvantages you should be prepared for pregnancy and STD’s. Sexually Transmitted diseases are very common in this part of the world especially. Which is why it baffles me when people are “shy” to get tested.
I know all the talks and social stigma you can get from unenlightened Nigerians that are in denial about many things. But please do not let that hinder you from securing your health.
If you are sexually active and having unprotected sex even if it is with just one partner. Getting tested is essential because you can never know.
Even if you are having protected sex it is still necessary to check, because some STD’s are transmitted via oral sex. I recommend getting tested every quarter of the year if you are very sexually active. But for the not so active I think twice a year during your most active periods is a good idea.
For many STD’s, the symptoms don’t show until it has proper manifested. Which could be a little too late in some cases.
Blood Pressure Checks
Many of us live in this stressful country called Nigeria, so we have tendency to experience high levels of stress which could cause our blood pressure to rise.
Hypertension is no joke. It is necessary to check your blood pressure often. Especially if someone has or had hypertension in your family, then your chances of getting it are higher. It can be prevented by eating a low cholesterol and sodium diet, exercising regularly and avoiding extremely stressful conditions.
Blood Sugar Checks
This is an easy test that can be done anytime you go to the hospital. It’s just a little prick on your finger and it checked on a glucometer that checks your blood sugar.
It’s good to this once in while especially if there is a history of diabetes in your family.
It’s a preventable cancer because it has a known cause- HPV (Human Papilloma Virus). HPV is transmitted sexually.
Cervical Cancer affects women and infection with the HPV usually takes a few years to manifest as Cervical Cancer with little or no symptoms until the cancer is advanced.
Some preventive measures are:
1. Safe sex wins:
Yes, raw sex might be nice but imagine getting cancer cause you didn’t wrap it up? Please use ya Condoms.
2. HPV vaccination:
You’ll need 3 shots for full immunity. Although this has been proven to be more effective before one is sexually active. Therefore, vaccination is usually done for teenage girls between the ages of 11 and 18. But young ladies between 19 and 26 could also get vaccinated.
3. Pap Smear Screening:
Once you’re in your 20’s and sexually active (not regarding if you have only one sexual partner) it is recommended that you do a Pap smear at a hospital, preferably by a gynecologist (once a year or once in 3 years). The procedure to get the smear from your cervix could be a bit uncomfortable but it is not usually painful. It’s a very short procedure and doesn’t usually take a long time (15minutes or less). Doing this religiously will help prevent the advancement of HPV infection to cervical cancer or detect cervical cancer at the early stages when treatment is most effective.
For more information about Pap smears
I hope this few tips have been helpful to someone out there. Let’s all try to take our health very seriously from now, you’re never too young to be affected by health-related issues.