After a brief fright in recent medical examinations I have learned the importance of knowing your health family history! Knowing about your family’s medical past truly can lead you to a healthier and more prepared future. It is an important factor in your family history that can literally change the way you live your daily life.
Your family health background should be on both sides of your family tree. One way to start documenting your family medical history is to talk with family members. As you go farther back in time this type of information can be found in vital records. Some things you want to inquire about or research are the following:
- Cause and age of death of family members. Aunts, uncles, and cousins can also be included in this. This type of information can also be obtained from a death certificate.
- Any medical conditions and the age at which a family member was diagnosed.
- Ethnic backgrounds, age and gender of family members and their relationship to you.
There are some conditions that run in families that doctors are interested in knowing about. For example, breast and ovarian cancer, heart disease and diabetes, history of strokes or a sudden death of a family member who seemed healthy. One thing that is also important to note is that not all medical conditions result from your family genes. Families also share lifestyle habits and environmental factors that can also contribute to your family’s health.
Just a friendly reminder to not forget these things as you study and discover your family’s stories!