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4 things not to ignore in your 30s
If you made it through your “indestructible” 20’s without any major health concerns, consider yourself lucky! But as you step into this new decade, there are some conditions that may show up. The good news is that following recommended screenings and routine checkups with your GP can set you up for a clean bill of health — now and for the long term.
1) skin cancer
Melanoma is one of the most common types of cancer in young adults. In fact, from 1970 to 2009, the American Academy of Dermatology reported a whopping 800 percent increase in melanoma in women ages 18 to 39. Risk factors include previous sunburns, use of indoor tanning equipment, and a high number of birthmarks. During pregnancy, moles may darken or increase in size due to changing hormones. Any changes in shape, size, and color should be evaluated by a dermatologist at your annual full-body skin exam. Early detection can save your life.
2) alcohol consumption
The ability to recover from a night takes twice as long as it used to. And there is a reason for that! Your body’s ability to metabolize and break down alcohol decreases, so it just takes longer for your liver to clear alcohol from your system. According to the CDC, binge drinking is most common among adults ages 18 to 34, but more than half of all binge drinks are consumed by people age 35 and older. If you have concerns about alcohol or its drug interactions, don’t wait to discuss it with your doctor.
3) weight gain
While you won’t wake up with an extra ten pounds the day after your 30th birthday, after the age of 20 your metabolic rate drops at about 2 percent per decade. If your calorie intake isn’t matched to the metabolic drop, you’ll inevitably see a gradual gain. It’s well-researched that eating fruits, nuts, and whole grains can help you lose or maintain weight. Additionally, strength training can help rebuild lost muscle mass (yes, that’s happening this decade too!).
4) Below the belt
According to the American Cancer Society, cervical cancer is most commonly diagnosed in women between the ages of 35 and 44. The vast majority of cervical cancers are caused by HPV, the human papillomavirus. HPV vaccination (a series of two to three shots) and regular Pap smears can help prevent it. In men, more than half will develop prostate cancer in their lifetime (fortunately, most don’t become a serious threat). However, there is an increase in early-stage prostate cancer among 15- to 40-year-olds. Be open with your doctor so you can learn more about age-related prostate changes and the tests to expect.
Hot topics to discuss
+ build bones: Around the age of 30, both men and women experience a loss of bone density that can eventually lead to osteoporosis. Talk to your doctor about taking nutrients like calcium, vitamin D, and potassium to stave off problems.
+ Prevent Weight Gain: Metabolism starts to slow, so make sure your diet and exercise plans are on point.
In your 30s, dental work starts to wear off. But thanks to digital technology, procedures like root canals and crowns that used to mean two doctor visits can be performed on the same day, says Dr. Tom Morgan of Babcock & Morgan Family Dental.
The number of first-time mothers in their 30s has more than tripled since 1975
33 is the average age at which testicular cancer is diagnosed
800% Increase in melanoma from 1970-2009 in women aged 18-39 years
Cervical Cancer Check every three years, with testing for HPV every five years
breast exam every three years; Start mammography at 30 if you are at high risk for breast cancer
baseline blood pressure screening, then every two to three years if it is normal
cholesterol test every five years
Whole body skin cancer screening every three years and annually for people with fair skin, hair and eyes; many moles; or a family history of melanoma
eye exam every five years
This article originally appeared in the November 2021 issue of Mpls.St.Paul Magazine as part of our Annual health guide. For the full section click here.