Adolescent health problems

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Adolescent Health Problems

In today’s time, the youth are faced with a series of problems. Some of them deal with problems of mental health and others, physical health. Pressure from peers and other worldly figures play a large role in developing these problems. Adolescence is a period of change in a young person’s life which may involve several health issues.
     Adolescence means, "to grow into maturity." Physical, emotional, social, and intellectual growth happens during adolescence (Health 1021). Ages thirteen until twenty is considered the teenage years, but from the standpoint of health, puberty, which is sexual development and enables reproduction, is the beginning of adolescence (Health 1021). Around age thirteen, girls and boys both begin to develop sexually and take the appearance of a young man or woman. By the age twenty, physical development is usually complete. Adolescence is also when major mental changes occur. Adolescents and his or her family both get frustrated with these changes (Health 1021). Along with physically developing adult characteristics, one’s social crowd may change, and interest in the opposite sex occurs. Adolescence is when one changes into what he or she will be for the rest of his or her life.
     It is crucial that adolescents practice good hygiene and health. "Adolescent health concerns include such normal conditions as acne and body odor, as well as more serious problems such as drug abuse, depression, and eating disorders" (Health 1021). Sexually transmitted diseases, along with eating disorders are large adolescent health problems.
     Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are ones caused by little germs, microorganisms. These germs from STDs are caught through sexual openings in one’s body. Sexually transmitted diseases are very common in the population as a whole. Adolescents cover a great deal of that number alone. Everyone’s case is not always the same due to the fact that several different STDs exist.
     Statistics show that STDs are very wide spread. "...roughly one in seven teenagers currently has a sexually transmitted disease (STD)..." (McCoy 26). Teens are not the only ones to have STDs, but they make up a large percentage of those who do. "Two-thirds of STD cases occur in persons under 25 years old. Three million teens are infected with STDs each year" (STDs N.P.).
     There are several different types of sexually transmitted diseases. Some are bacterial and some are viral. Chlamydia, gonorrhea, and trichomoniasis are all bacterial infections, which can be cured with antibiotics. Herpes, HIV (human immunodeficiency virus), and HPV (human papilloma virus) are all viruses. There is no cure for these, but certain medications help control these STDs (Forman 174).
     All STDs are spread through intercourse, but there are other ways to pass them on. Rubbing, oral activity and just touching in some cases can spread STDs (Forman 174). "STDs...are caught through vaginal intercourse or through anal (rectal) or oral (mouth) sex" (Byers 7). Blood contact is another way to pass a STD, though sexual body fluids are the most common.
     There are ways to protect against sexually transmitted diseases. Condoms are a form of protection. One is putting his or herself at risk when having sex without a condom (Health 1033). "There is no such thing as safe sex, just safer sex" (STDs N.P.). When both partners have sex only with each other in their lifetime, the risk of a STD is extremely slim. The only way a person who has had no sexual contact with someone can have a STD is if his or her parent was HIV positive or had the AIDs virus. This would pass HIV to the child.
     Different sexually transmitted diseases have different symptoms. Some of them are similar, and some of them have no early symptoms. "STDs can be painful, can affect your fertility without your even knowing it, or can kill you" (Health 1034). Common health problems associated with STDs are things such as genital warts, pelvic inflammation, and abnormal discharge. "Nearly one third of teens think they’d be able to tell if they had a STD without getting a test.... The majority of people with STDs show no visible symptoms" (Forman 172).
     Another major adolescent health problem is eating disorders. "Eating disorders are conditions that develop because people believe that their body image isn’t really what it should be" (Eating N.P.). "Eating disorders... often affect teenage girls who want to achieve an impossible degree of thinness. Some adolescents stop eating altogether, literally starving themselves in the process of losing weight" (Health 1037).
     Dieting is how many people try to lose weight, but they only work five to ten percent of the time. More weight than before is put on after quitting a diet (Baxter N.P.). Statistics also show a large number of people, especially women, are suffering from an eating disorder. "One in four or five women and one in 10 men struggle with an eating disorder at some time in their life" (Baxter N.P.).     
     When one thinks of eating disorders, they commonly think of women, but men also struggle with these disorders. "Ten years ago, men accounted for only 10% of eating disorder cases, but recent studies show that 16% of patients are men, and that figure appears to be rising" (Cohn N.P.). Men struggle to have the "perfect figure" as well as women do, but      women make up the majority of those with eating disorders. About ninety percent of anorexics are women and about four and one half percent to eighteen percent have bulimia (Health 413).
     Men and women both struggle to have the perfect idolized body. Men want to gain weight to build muscle for the nice arms and chest, but they tend to lose the weight instead. Women want to lose weight for that model figure, but gain it easily. One’s body becomes unhealthy and looks bad. People with eating disorders tend to have low self-esteem (Cohn N.P.). They try to exercise often. Women lose their periods. All of this starts because one sees his or her body as fat, even though it may be extremely thin (Health 1037).
     Many things cause eating disorders. It may be hereditary. People who are anorexic or bulimic feel secure knowing they can completely control their weight (Baxter N.P.). "People with eating disorders are obsessed with food and, in one way or another, abuse it" (Nardo 11). "People...feel out of control around food or feel that food rules their life" (Health 1037). They like to know they can control something when others cannot. This causes weight loss, trouble sleeping, trouble with relationships, and bad mood swings (Eating N.P.).
     There are a few different types of eating disorders, each with their own habits and health problems. Anorexia, bulimia, and overeating are the most common eating disorders. Anorexics lose a lot of weight by avoiding food. It causes serious health problems, which can cause death. Bulimics binge, which is eating large amounts of food at one time, and then they purge, which is getting rid of food. Their weight will go up and down, which causes heart problems. Overeaters are those who cannot control their desire to eat (Baxter N.P.).
On the average, teenagers are usually healthy, but checkups should be made every year to check physical and mental health, to allow questioning, and to discuss safety, family and peer conflicts, school, teenage pregnancy, alcohol, drug abuse, nutrition, and STDs (Health 1022). Preventing any illness possible is one step closer to a very healthy life.
          Being an adolescent can be a stressful or dangerous time in one’s life. There are several choices to be made and several issues to be faced. The largest amount of change, typically involving health issues, occurring in a young person’s life is adolescence.

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