Medical Care and your 13 to 18 years old
By meeting yearly with your teen, the doctor can keep track of changes in physical, mental, and social development and offer advice against unhealthy behaviors, such as smoking and drinking.
The doctor also can help your child understand the importance of choosing a healthy lifestyle that includes good nutrition, proper exercise, and safety measures.
The more that teens understand about their physical growth and sexual development, the more they will recognize the importance of active involvement in their own health care.
What to Expect at the Doctor's Office
Teens should visit their doctors annually. At least three of these visits should include a complete physical examination:
- one performed during early adolescence (ages 11 to 14)
- one during middle adolescence (ages 15 to 17)
- one during late adolescence (ages 18 to 21)
If your child has a chronic medical condition or if certain clinical signs or symptoms are present, more frequent exams might be needed.
Medical care should include screenings for high blood pressure, obesity, eating disorders, and, if indicated, hyperlipidemia (an excess of cholesterol and/or other fats in the blood). A tuberculin (PPD) test may be done if your teen is at risk for tuberculosis.
Your teen's doctor will also check his or her teeth for tooth decay, abnormal tooth development, malocclusion (abnormal bite), dental injuries, and other problems. Your teen should also continue to have regular checkups with your dentist.
Vision and hearing will be checked. Teens are also checked for scolosis (curvature of the spine).
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