Have you compiled a family health history? If not, do you know what diseases or health conditions are hereditary in your family? Are you or your family members at risk for diabetes, cancer, heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, or other life-threatening conditions?
The Surgeon General has declared Thanksgiving to be Family Health History Day. Families are encouraged to talk about and write down health information over the holiday. Thanksgiving is the perfect time to ask family members questions about diseases or health conditions that they may be dealing with. Knowing what your risks are can help you make lifestyle changes. It can also help your doctor decide if he wants to run additional tests or prescribe some type of preventive measures.
If you or a family member are diagnosed with a serious disease or illness, having a health history readily available alleviates the need to gather the information under stressful circumstances. Doctors often ask family members about what diseases or health conditions have they had and at what age they were diagnosed. It is helpful for a doctor to know how old family members were when they died to see if they can establish a pattern that could be tied to your own health profile. Information about extended family members (aunts, uncles, and grandparents) is also valuable to your doctor.
Forms are available online to record your family’s health history. You can print out the forms and write the information on the forms or record the information online and then print the forms. Below are some links to help you get started!
Decide today how and when you want to begin your family health history! It is a worthwhile project to help you, your children, and grandchildren live longer, healthier lives.