Illnesses and Ailments in adolescents

The years 12 – 15 are particularly subject to illness and minor ailments, as is usual in periods of rapid growth.

The most common complaint is headache. This is chiefly due to eyestrain; adenoids, constipation, and nerve strain are other frequent causes. Girls often suffer from nervous palpitations just before the first period; both girls and boys may experience slight cardiac failure and palpitation. An irregular pulse is fairly common.

Measles is the commonest infectious disease, with its attendant bronchial catarrh, which may predispose to consumption. This latter disease often first reveals itself about 15. In addition to tuberculosis of the lungs, usually called consumption, there is tuberculosis of the hip, the knee, and the spine, which may be mistaken for rheumatism, and of the glands of the neck, due to infection of the tonsils. Epilepsy not uncommonly develops during these years. Appendicitis in girls is frequently mistaken for pain connected with the menstrual period. Mumps, scarlet fever and tonsilitis also attack adolescents. Digestive upsets are common.