Health Risks For Young Adults — Don’t Take Them Lightly

Health issues that plague men and women in their early 20s and 30s fall into two distinct categories. There are problems that could be defined as lifestyle choices, including accidental deaths, suicide, drug overdoses, and, to some degree, obesity. And there are a wide range of medical conditions that cannot be anticipated, such as cancers, diabetes, sexually transmitted diseases, Lupus, Crohn’s disease and multiple sclerosis.

There could also be category three, which would be potential diseases brought about by lifestyle choices. Lung cancer or emphysema brought about by smoking or liver damage brought about by excessive use of alcohol would fall into this grouping. These are diseases that have not blossomed into full-fledged diseases in their early stages, yet, decades hence, when you look back and say “where did your lung cancer or your cirrhosis of the liver begin?” you would have to include the earliest days of smoking or drinking.

These might be called ghost diseases. Type II diabetes, which is called adult onset diabetes, and some heart diseases can also be in this category, since being overweight contributes to both. In that sense, Type II diabetes might be said to start in someone’s 20s, even though the actual diagnosis was not available for another 20 or 30 years down the line.

health risk young adults

Lifestyle Illnesses

It is hard to define homicide as a lifestyle choice or an illness, but society has clearly put African Americans at the greatest risk of dying by violence that is not car related.

How then, should this be listed? According to a fact sheet published by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, “the leading cause of mortality among youth in the United States is unintentional injuries (48 percent) with motor vehicle injuries accounting for the majority of these deaths. Other leading causes include homicide (13 percent) and suicide (11 percent).

That said, the mortality rate among youth in the United States plummeted from 76 per 100,000 to 60 per 100,000 from 1990 to 2005 and the largest declines were experienced by males and African American youths, the fact sheet says.

Remarkably, homicide is the second leading cause of death among youths age 10-24 and gun-related homicides is by far the most prevalent cause, involved in 82 percent of those deaths.

Smoking, Obesity, Alcoholism And Drug Use

From the 1980s to 2010, substance abuse among youth has declined. In 1991, 51 percent of 12th graders reported using alcohol in the month prior to being given a survey. In 2009, that had dropped to 42 percent.

Cigarette smoking had also declines from 28 percent to 20 percent over the same time period. However, substance abuse dependence reportedly rose from 15 percent to 21 percent for 18 to 25 year olds.

Obesity to young adults


Regular check ups, careful diet, exercise and a cessation of substance abuse are most prevalent recommendations. It is frequently said that when a person stops taking an addictive substance, they then can then attend to their other problems – not the other way around. Reflections Recovery, a rehab center in Arizona recommends abstinence as a first step towards recovery.


While cancer onset is generally associated with elderly patients, don’t be caught unawares. Every check up with your doctor should include routine screenings for heart disease, diabetes and cancer, which can strike young adults.

For women, it pays to have routine check ups for cervical cancer and to learn how to check yourself for breast cancer – as well as to get the recommended mammograms in a timely fashion.

The number one cancer for women between 30 and 40, according to the website AllWomensTalk, is cervical cancer. The site recommends yearly pelvic exams and pap smears to check against cervical abnormalities.

Furthermore, women in their 30s are in a high risk bracket for breast cancer, which has a higher risk if the illness is part of your family history.

Meanwhile, men in their 30s are at risk for testicular cancer, which accounts for 15 percent of cancers in men between ages 30 and 40. “Make sure the men in your life go in for annual testicular exams with their doctors,” the website recommends.

Men are also at risk for colon cancer and both men and women are at risk for melanoma or skin cancers. Watch out for moles or other changes on your skin and report concerns to your physician.