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Physical Problems in Adolescents

By Sharon Levy, MD, MPH, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics; Director, Adolescent Substance Abuse Program, Harvard Medical School; Boston Children's Hospital

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Patient Education

Although adolescents are susceptible to the same kinds of illness that afflict younger children, generally they are a healthy group. Adolescents should continue to receive vaccinations according to the recommended schedule (see Table: Recommended Immunization Schedule for Ages 7–18 yr).

Acne is extremely common and needs to be addressed because of its impact on self-esteem.

Trauma is very common among adolescents, with sports and motor vehicle injuries most frequent. Motor vehicle crashes and other unintentional injuries, homicide, and suicide are the 4 leading causes of mortality in the adolescent age group.

Disorders that are common among all adolescents include

Disorders that are common among adolescent girls include

Pregnancy also is not a rare occurrence and must be kept in mind when treating adolescent girls.

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