Preventive Health Care Should Begin in Your 20s


When you’re young and healthy, it can be tempting to put off regular checkups with a primary care provider. After all, you’re feeling fine and you don’t have to worry about serious health issues until you’re in your 40s (or later), right?

However, that can be a big mistake. If you put off preventive health care until your late 30s or 40s, you may already be well down the road to developing a chronic disease—one you could have prevented if only you had gotten regular checkups. Plus, there are screenings and vaccines that are important to get in your 20s. 

Here are some of the most important reasons why establishing a relationship with a primary care provider now is so important and can make your life easier (and healthier) down the road.

Developing a Relationship

You don’t want your first visit to a primary care provider to be because you’re having a troubling or scary health issue. That’s also not the time you want to have to count on an urgent care doctor who has never seen you before and will likely never see you again.

Seeing a primary care provider for regular checkups lets you establish a meaningful, long-term relationship. He or she will know your health history and which conditions may run in your family. Plus, regular visits allow your provider to know your baseline metrics, such as blood pressure, cholesterol, body mass index (BMI), and more. 

Detecting “Silent” Health Issues Early

Did you know up to 27% of young adults already have high levels of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, which if left untreated can lead to clogged arteries and heart disease down the road? In addition, type 2 diabetes, which used to be a disease that didn’t strike until after 40, is rising in young adults—and the form they’re getting is more aggressive. 

The good news is that catching these issues early with regular preventive care checkups lets you and your provider treat them and make changes that will prevent more serious health issues down the road. You don’t want a small problem now to turn into a bigger health issue later—after all, small problems are much easier to address. 

Getting the Vital “20-Something” Screenings & Vaccines

 Beginning in your 20s, it’s important to get regular health screenings. Not only do you want comprehensive blood panels, but your provider may also recommend that you get screened for high cholesterol, hypertension, high blood sugar, sexually transmitted diseases, HIV, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C.

Routine men’s and women’s health screenings are also critical in your 20s. Experts recommend gynecological screenings beginning at age 21, including Pap smears to detect cervical cancer and breast exams. For men, testicular exams are recommended yearly. Detecting symptoms in their earliest, most treatable stages can prevent serious complications from developing. 

Finally, your primary care provider can make sure you’re up to date on necessary immunizations, such as the flu vaccine, hepatitis B, HPV, tetanus, and more.

Addressing Your Mental Health Needs

Your mental health is just as important as your physical health, yet it’s something that’s often overlooked, especially by young adults. 

Your primary care provider can screen you for conditions like anxiety and depression and prescribe treatments or make referrals to a mental health expert. 

Giving You a “Medical Home Base”

Navigating the healthcare system can be daunting for anyone—and it can be especially tricky in your 20s if you’re unfamiliar with how it works. 

Your primary care provider is your central point of contact for coordinating all your health care needs, including making referrals to specialists, scheduling preventive screenings and vaccinations, and helping you to manage chronic conditions. 

Having this “medical home base” can streamline your health care experience and make your life much easier. 

How to Find a Primary Care Provider

To find a primary care provider, you can visit the Innovista Medical Center provider directory. You can filter listings by name, city, or zip code. Innovista welcomes all Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas plans. 

If you’re unsure about which provider to choose, you can ask your pediatrician if he or she is able to make a recommendation. 

Once you find a provider you want to see, you will want to schedule a first appointment to establish care. Then, you and your provider can determine how often you need to be seen to maintain the best health possible.