How Often Should Young Adults Get a Physical and Why?

How Often Should Young Adults Get a Physical

You don’t come across too many young adults who want to know, How often should young adults get a physical? This is simply because many young adults typically don’t think of getting a physical and only visit a doctor when they are sick or need vaccinations.

Physical examinations are considered preventive care since doctors do this regularly to examine for problems that may not already exist. Preventative care is frequently disregarded, and this is not just a young adult problem.

Young adults should get a physical examination once every year. While this statement contradicts the widely held belief that a healthy young adult should get a physical once every 2-3 years, Hanna E Bloomfield, MD, MPH, and Timothy J Wild, in an Evidence Brief published by the National Library of Medicine, conclude that an annual examination is more beneficial to both patient and doctor as “…there are perceived benefits to the physician-patient relationship, patient expectations for a yearly “physical,” fear of malpractice litigation, and compensation (Evidence Brief: Role of the Annual Comprehensive Physical Examination in the Asymptomatic Adult).

This post examines why getting an annual physical as a young adult is essential, plus what to expect.

Most people, especially young adults, don’t want to go to the doctor when they feel excellent. But doing so is the right thing to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Regular physicals, specific testing, and immunizations can help preserve your health.

You should still visit your doctor for routine checks even if you feel good. Future issues may be prevented with the assistance of these visits. For instance, you must periodically check your blood pressure to see if you have high blood pressure. Both high blood sugar and high cholesterol levels may not initially show symptoms. These disorders may be checked for with a simple blood test.

Even if you appear in good health, you may have an underlying disease that your doctor is trained to detect. 

Many diseases that are dangerous to your health are symptomless. Getting regular physicals is crucial for monitoring a young adult’s health. 

Most people see the doctor only when something is seriously wrong. To aid in preventing future health difficulties, visiting your doctor for a physical is crucial.

Why is it Important for Young Adults to Get a Physical?

Getting a physical presents the ideal opportunity to talk to your doctor about your expectations for your health.

How Often Should Young Adults Get a Physical

You also get to ask your doctor any questions about specific issues that bother you. For instance, your eyes may have changed color, and you don’t know why. You may feel your knees hurt when you bend down, or maybe you find that you are losing weight abnormally or suffer a loss of appetite. While these issues may not be illnesses, your doctor can help you brainstorm your symptoms and habits to see if there is something more.

Your doctor can detect illnesses and disorders with their training and tools. They may call for a blood test or require further screening.

A regular physical examination includes tests to look for changes. Your doctor will work through a checklist to ensure that you are still developing normally and screen for red flags that may suggest a physical or mental ailment.

Additionally, you may create a baseline so your doctor can track any changes in your health. And when they detect something that they cannot deal with in-house, they may refer you for further screening or to a specialist.

On the other hand, if all is as expected, you and your doctor may decide on the best plan to maintain your health; or work on actionable tips for living a healthy lifestyle.

Physical Checkups are Intended To

  • Screen for illnesses
  • Evaluate the likelihood of developing future health issues
  • Promote a healthy lifestyle
  • Update immunizations
  • Maintain contact with a physician in case of sickness
  • Follow up on existing health issues
  • Evaluate your participation in certain physical activities you may want to be involved in

So, How Often Should Young Adults Get a Physical?

Your perfect physical regimen depends on your circumstances, just as everyone has varied medical demands. You may require periodic preventative checkups depending on your age and overall health.

Your doctor might advise you to visit more frequently if you smoke or have other risk factors for specific disorders, additionally if you have one or more chronic diseases. For instance, you may have diabetes, heart disease, asthma, high blood pressure or depression, and anxiety. When needed, your doctor should work with you to develop a personalized plan for screening and checkups.

Because we are all a little different, what is typical for you is not expected of someone else. Therefore, knowing your blood pressure, cholesterol, and glucose patterns can enable you to identify any warning signals of danger rapidly.


Preventive Health Screening Checklist for Adults

Below are what young adults should get checked on during a physical.

In addition to the screenings everyone needs, young adult women should screen for breast cancer annually, complete a pelvic examination, and test for cervical cancer once every three years.

During a physical examination, the healthcare provider will usually check the individual’s vital signs (such as blood pressure and pulse), perform a physical exam (including an analysis of the head, neck, and extremities), and may order some routine laboratory tests. The specific components of the physical examination may vary based on the individual’s age, sex, and overall health.

  • Eyesight
  • Hearing
  • Influenza
  • Pneumococcal
  • MMR
  • Meningococcal
  • Varicella
  • Shingles
  • Measles-mumps and rubella 
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV)
  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B
  • Haemophilus Influenza Type B
  • Have your blood pressure checked
  • Make sure that you are up-to-date on the required vaccinations
  • Chickenpox 
  • Meningitis (this is typically required of young adults who are about to attend college).

What are the Benefits of Regular Physical Examinations?

There are many benefits to getting regular physicals. Some of these are listed below. 

Regular physicals help you identify health risks and understand the current state of your health: A standard medical checkup will help your doctor identify potential health problems and inform them about your general state of health.

  • If caught on time, most illnesses can be reversed or managed effectively. Regular physicals will help you detect signs of early disease.
  •  If you have an existing condition, your physician can monitor it, make recommendations and track the progress of such requests. 
  • We usually don’t know if or when we need vaccinations, but healthcare professionals do. They will let you know what you are missing and what you need to take to stay up to date. 
  • Our bodies can be like a new car. If you do what is required to keep it well-maintained, then you will reduce the cost of a complete breakdown.
  • Healthcare is constantly changing, and your doctors are trained to keep up. They share tips and strategies to help you maintain a healthy lifestyle.
  • Regular physicals can reduce your risk of getting sick. Regular medical checks on your general well-being, which includes both body and mind, to ensure that you are fit. If the doctor suspects illness, then steps are taken to prevent such illness. Further, specialists can be recommended for further screening. 

Why Young Adults are Not Getting a Regular Physical

Young adults may not get regular physicals for many reasons. The top reasons follow.

They Don’t Think they Need it. Most young adults feel healthy, and they should. Their bodies are still very young. But everybody worries about something, and if your worries become about your physical or mental health, or if something doesn’t seem right, you should get a physical.

They May Not Know Where to Start. Some young adults are stuck in transition. Once they get too old for their pediatricians, which is typically by the age of 21, they are dropped by the clinic. Finding a new doctor is a daunting task. They may not know what type of doctor to get, the process, or how to get one. For this reason, many states have State health clinics to make it possible for young men and women who are transitioning into adulthood to get seen by a doctor.


They May Not Have Healthcare Insurance. Some young adults who have aged out of their parent’s insurance remain without healthcare insurance for a while. This is simply because they may not be able to afford insurance on their own, and they may not have a good job or be attending college, both of which are institutions that help young adults with insurance.

Again, there may be government programs available in your home State that will provide you with access to healthcare.

To Sum it Up

Young people should ask, “How Often Should Young Adults Get a Physical and why?” Parents should also talk to their adolescents and teenagers about healthcare as this is an important part of adulting.

As has already been mentioned here, there are two schools of thought when it comes to getting aIt is generally recommended that young adults (ages 18-39) receive a physical examination every 2-3 years if they are healthy and do not have any specific health concerns. The second school of thought says this should be done annually.

What school of thought you choose is entirely up to you. However, annual checkups mean that you and your doctor may enjoy a closer relationship as they get to know you, and you them. They are more likely to detect illnesses at their onset and can follow up more efficiently on issues, which may not amount to a condition, but may need medical attention.

Physical examinations can also help to establish a baseline of the individual’s overall health and serve as a reference point for future comparisons. Additionally, a physical examination can provide an opportunity for the healthcare provider to provide preventive care recommendations, such as immunizations and screenings for certain diseases, that can help to maintain good health and prevent future problems.

Your doctor will recommend the best plan for your checkup and screening in the future. 

Christine Udeani, JD
Christine Udeani, JD

Christine is a dedicated mother of six young adults and a teenager who has made significant contributions to the online world through her writing and entrepreneurship. She attended Northwestern University, Strayer University, Thomas M Cooley School of Law, NWCULAW, and holds degrees in business, Law, and Communications. She shares tips and experiences to help young adults and their parents with this generation’s issues.

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