Dr. MJ Bazos MD,
Teenagers: How to
Will the habits I have now really
make a difference when I'm older?
Yes, 65% of all deaths in adults are caused by
heart disease, cancer and stroke. Many of the behaviors that cause these
conditions begin at a young age. For example, if you use tobacco as a teenager,
you're more likely to get heart disease, cancer or stroke when you're an adult.
What can I do now to keep myself
- Avoid using any type of tobacco product. Try not
to breathe second-hand cigarette smoke.
- Always use your seat belt in a car or truck.
- Don't drink and drive. Don't get into a car with
a driver who has been drinking alcohol or using drugs.
- Wear protective headgear, such as motorcycle or
- Never swim alone.
- Talk to your parents or your doctor if you're
feeling really sad or if you're thinking about harming yourself.
- Get regular exercise.
- Eat a healthy diet.
- Avoid situations where violence or fighting may
cause you to be physically injured.
- If you have sex, use condoms to avoid pregnancy
and sexually transmitted diseases. (Remember, though, the "safest" sex is no
- See your doctor regularly for preventive care.
What is preventive
For teenagers, preventive care may include the
- Screening by your doctor to find out your risk
for certain health problems.
- Health information about ways to avoid
unnecessary risks to
- Measurements of height, weight, cholesterol
levels and blood pressure.
- Tests to check your general health or to find
- Immunizations ("shots" or "vaccines") to reduce
your risk of getting diseases such as mumps and tetanus.
At my age, what
should I especially be concerned about?
Nearly 3 out of 4 deaths among teenagers and
young adults are caused by 4 things: car accidents, unintentional physical
injury, homicide and suicide. Cancer and heart disease can also affect you at
this age. Unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases (including HIV
and AIDS) also cause you social and personal problems, in addition to harming
Do young men have different health
risks than young women?
Yes. Young men don't wear seat belts as often as
young women do. They're also more likely to carry weapons, to get into physical
fights, to use smokeless tobacco or marijuana, to drink alcohol heavily, and to
have more sexual partners. On the other hand, young women have some special
risks. They try to commit suicide more often and use unhealthy weight-loss
methods more often than young men.
Should I talk to my doctor if I'm
worried about my health or my body?
Yes. It's important to talk to your doctor if
you have any concerns about your health or your body. Your doctor is there to