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Physical Problems in Adolescents

By Sharon Levy, MD, MPH, Harvard Medical School;Children's Hospital, Boston

Adolescents are susceptible to the same kinds of illnesses that affect younger children but generally they are a healthy group. Adolescents should continue to receive vaccinations according to the recommended schedule (see Childhood Vaccination Schedule).

Acne is extremely common and should be addressed to minimize its impact on self-esteem (see Acne : Treatment).

Injuries are very common among adolescents, and sports-related and motor vehicle injuries are most frequent. Motor vehicle crashes, other unintentional injuries, homicide, and suicide are the four leading causes of death among adolescents.

Disorders that are common among all adolescents include

Disorders that are common among adolescent girls include

Many adolescents do not routinely use effective methods of contraception, and some adolescent girls become pregnant (see Contraception and Adolescent Pregnancy).

Although not common, cancers such as leukemia, lymphoma, bone cancers, and brain tumors also occur.

Children who have many different symptoms that are not clearly the result of a specific disorder are usually also evaluated for psychosocial problems (see Overview of Psychosocial Problems in Adolescents).

* This is the Consumer Version. *