By ART LIMANN, For The Times Leader
Many people in their 20s and 30s feel invincible. However, Dr. Paul Scurti, who practices at Ohio Valley Medical Center and East Ohio Regional Hospital, wants people in this age group to understand that they are not. "People in this age bracket should still see a doctor for an annual exam," he said. "There are some screenings that can be done, particularly with those with certain risk factors, and that can identify problems early before they become a real issue. "There are other lifestyle screenings that can be done, such as weight, diet, exercise, and the use of alcohol and tobacco, which can be corrected to help before the start of heart disease. Those with certain risk factors should definitely have their cholesterol checked." Scurti also noted those with a family history of diabetes, and those with a weight problem or high blood pressure, should also have their blood sugar levels checked. He pointed out the earlier these factors are detected, the earlier they can be treated and the less of a problem they will become. Certain other screenings are also done on an individual basis depending on individual risk factors. Scurti recommends females also see their gynecologist regularly for screenings. He suggests immunizations be kept current, such as annual flu shots, and tetanus shots every 10 years. An HPV vaccine is also suggested for those up to the age of 26. Another general precaution is good skin care, that is using sun screen, and avoiding tanning beds. For women, the biggest health concern in their 20s is sexually transmitted diseases. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control, more than half of the approximately 19 million new cases of STDs that occur each year are in from women in their 20s. Eating disorders also are a concern for women as well as men. For men, STDs also are a concern. Some experts also point to risky behavior including extreme sports as a health concern for this age group. The leading cause of death of men in their 20s and 30s is motor vehicle accidents. Depression also can be a problem for men, especially those in their 30s. Concerns with family, money and even health tend to crop up at this time, which can lead to increased stress both at work and at home.