Daily Health Maintenance
Floss - 20s, 30s, 40s
Even if you brush twice a day, decay-causing bacteria can still lurk between teeth. That sets you up for gum disease, which raises the risk of heart disease, stroke, and, if you're pregnant, pre-term delivery. Gingivitis can affect even young adults: More than 50 percent of people over 30 have it.
Step on the scale - 20s, 30s, 40s
Studies show that people who weigh themselves every day are more likely to maintain a healthy weight.
Take a multi - 20s, 30s, 40s
Throughout your 20s, a multivitamin offers an essential boost of iron and folic acid. And no matter what your age, if you're trying to get pregnant (or already are), you need these minerals to help prevent birth defects. In your 30s and 40s, the calcium and vitamin D in a good multi will help keep your skeleton strong.
Weekly Health Tips
Get it on - 20s, 30s, 40s
Research has shown that having sex once or twice a week boosts by 30 percent your body's production of immunoÃ‚Âglobulin A, an antibody that sends viruses and bacteria packing.
Every 3-6 months
Open up and say "ahh" - 20s, 30s, 40s
You need to see your dentist at least twice a year to check for cavities, get a professional polishing, and keep up with x-rays. Make sure at least one visit each year includes an inspection of your lips, gums, and tongue for oral cancer: Because the disease spreads fast, early detection is crucial.
Screen for STDs - 20s, 30s, 40s
Most are curable, but if you put off testing, you could compromise your fertility and your health. Certain you're not infected? Don't be: Noticeable symptoms often don't show up for months, or ever. Get screened if you've recently had a new partner, if the person you're seeing has (or you suspect it), or if you've never been tested. The big three to check for are chlamydia, gonorrhea, and HIV. You can even order at-home tests through the mail.
Yearly Routine Health
Show your doc some skin - 20s, 30s, 40s
Melanoma--the deadliest form of skin cancer--is on the rise in women, and 25 percent of those cases occur before age 40. See a dermatologist once a year for a full-body screening. And every couple of months, do a mirror check for moles that are asymmetrical, have irregular borders, change in color, or are larger than a pencil eraser.
See an ob-gyn - 20s, 30s, 40s
Show up for the routine poking and prodding (i.e., a breast and pelvic exam and a Pap smear) every year. If you're at high risk for cervical cancer, ask your doctor for an HPV test too: Research shows that it's nearly 40 percent better than the Pap at detecting precancerous lesions.
Have your eyes examined - 30s, 40s
Get tested for glaucoma, macular degeneration, and cataracts starting at age 35--earlier if the guy across the bar starts looking less than high-def.
Get a mammogram - 40s
Do it yearly starting at age 40. If you have a family history of breast cancer, get checked at least five years before the earliest age that cancer was diagnosed in your family. If you're at very high risk, your doc may also recommend an MRI, which gives a more detailed picture of your breast tissue.
Every 2-3 years
Have a physical - 20s, 30s, 40s
Many women figure that a yearly ob-gyn visit covers all the necessary bases. But lots of health problems--including heart disease, the top killer of women--can't be detected in your nether regions. In addition to any tests you're due for, a doc should check your heartbeat, blood pressure, height, and weight.
Get a Pap smear - 30s, 40s
If you're over 30 and have had two or more consecutive normal smears and no new sexual partners, it's safe to reduce the frequency of your Paps.
Screen for diabetes - 40s
Get your blood glucose levels checked once you hit 45. Go earlier if you're overweight, have a family history of diabetes, or are trying to get pregnant.
Every 5 years
Get a full lipid profile - 20s, 30s, 40s
Beginning at age 20, have your LDL, HDL, total cholesterol, and triglyceride levels checked. If your levels are high, you may need to be screened more frequently.
Get a thyroid check - 30's, 40's
More than eight out of 10 thyroid disease patients are women, and since the symptoms tend to be common complaints that are easy to dismiss (aches, fatigue, weight gain), you may not even realize you have a problem. Start having your thyroid hormone levels screened when you're 35.