If you are thirty or nearing thirty and going in for your annual checkup, your doctor’s staff owes it to you to warn you that the nature of the conversations will change. You may think you’re going in for your usual rapid blood pressure test, quick feeling for lumps in the boobs and vaccine updates, but it’s going to be a little more than that. As my doctor put it, the thirties is a decade of prevention. In your twenties, you may have been able to get away with some bad habits like eating fast food, drinking a lot of alcohol and running around without sunscreen. But that’s because you still had your thirties ahead of you as a buffer period between your twenties, and the age where you can develop a lot of conditions—your forties. Here’s how conversations with your doctor change in your thirties.
Supplements become more mandatory
In the past, your doctor may have recommended that you take certain supplements like multivitamins, calcium and fish oil. After this visit, you may find she has nearly prescribed them by writing them down on your paperwork as your at-home care. You’re hitting an age where your body may start to need help combatting any vitamin deficiencies, and you may feel deficiencies like a lack of omega-3s more strongly (could result in fatigue or depression).
She’ll ask about your family goals
Your doctor may ask you for the first time if you want to have children. Since your thirties is an important decade for reproduction, if you do want kids, she’ll want to guide you towards making the right decisions to create a fertile womb. Your desire to have children is something she’ll also connect to our next point.
She may be more curious about your home life
In the thirties, your doctor will start looking more closely for signs of depression or anxiety. While these conditions are quite common for individuals in their twenties who are still figuring our their career and relationships, doctors take them a bit more seriously if they remain in the thirties. Your doctor may want to know if you’re in a relationship, if you’re happy in your relationship, and if you’re content with your friendships.
She may be more curious about your work
Your doctor may, for the first time, take a more serious interest in your career. She might ask what your goals are and if you’re content at work. Career dissatisfaction can be a contributing factor to depression for those in their thirties, more than for those in their twenties, because at this point, many people expect to be settled and thriving.
She won’t let the booze slide as much
In the past, your doctor may have had little to say about the 10 alcoholic drinks you consume each week. But now, cells aren’t regenerating at the rate they used to, and your liver can’t work quite as hard to flush out toxins. Your doctor may actually request that you limit your alcohol intake. If you do drink a lot, she may ask if that’s related to depression or anxiety. In the past, she may have attributed heavy drinking to just being in your twenties.
She’ll go more in depth about breast examination
As you age, your risk of breast cancer increases. At previous appointments, your doctor may have breezed through your breast exam and your instructions to check for lumps at home. In your thirties, she may describe the consistency, shape and size of lumps you should be looking for, as well as other breast changes, in more detail.
She’ll get more serious about your cholesterol
The older you get, the harder it is to get a handle on high cholesterol. Your doctor may have said you had nothing to worry about if you had slightly elevated LDL levels in your twenties, but if those levels are still high in your thirties, she’ll likely prescribe a home routine of a special diet and supplements.
If your weight has changed at all, she’ll ask about it
Weight fluctuations in your twenties are common due to heavy drinking, stress about work, changing relationships, changing budgets and more. But in your thirties, your weight should start to be more consistent. If your doctor notices a seven-pound weight change, she may bring it up, whereas in the past, she would have let it slide
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