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Why College Students, Young Adults Should See the Doctor More

Healthy Lifestyle

It’s second nature to take your kids to regular doctor’s appointments. And in your later years, it seems you have more and more reasons to visit medical providers.

But it’s between the ages of 16 and 35 that people tend to fall off the wagon. This is especially true when teens head off to college, and often several years after, until something forces them back to the doctor.

I’m young and healthy. Why should I visit the doctor?

Seeing the doctor isn’t just about pills, colonoscopies and managing problems once they get out of control.

Teens and young adults may be relatively healthy, but office visits are excellent opportunities to work on preventative care. Some key areas of focus:

  • Diet
  • Exercise
  • Healthy habits
  • Managing stress and using coping strategies
  • Managing risk (e.g., not driving impaired)
  • Planning for the future

Continuity of care is important to patient and provider. The better the relationship, the better the outcomes. And if a patient switches providers, a new one can take over with the aid of accurate, up-to-date records.

How to find a new provider

Maintaining continuity of care can be difficult for young adults. Getting regular health checkups just isn’t a priority, and it may seem a little intimidating.

It doesn’t have to be.

Meeting a new provider should be like meeting anyone else. You’re going to meet people you like and connect with, and some you don’t. Young adults should feel empowered to meet different doctors and decide whom they’re most comfortable with. That can mean moving on if the patient-doctor relationship isn’t clicking.

When young people are involved in finding providers, they begin to take more responsibility for their health care as a whole.

Getting involved earlier

Whether it’s a young adult or a child meeting with the doctor, there’s an opportunity for empowerment and education. But they must be engaged in the process.

For providers, that means talking to young people – even children as young as 3 – like they’re adults. There should be conversations about health care and what it means to them. There should be honesty about their struggles in life and with their health.

For parents, that means preparing children to take charge of their health. You’d work with them to learn to drive a car or handle money before they leave the nest. Helping them become responsible for their health care should be no different.

Whether you are new to Methodist Physicians Clinic or already a patient, we offer the convenience of requesting an appointment from your computer or smart phone

James Ramig

About the Author:

Dr. James Ramig is a family medicine physician at Methodist Physicians Clinic Hawthorne Court.

He is passionate about science, medicine and building relationships with patients – especially parents and their children. He believes honest discussions and engaging children at an adult level can lead to better outcomes.
 

See More Articles by James Ramig