Have you ever thought about your family health history? It’s something that doctors generally ask about, but have you ever thought about what it can result in for you?
What is your family health history?
You and your family members share genes. You may also have behaviors in common, such as exercise habits and what you like to eat. You may live in the same area and come into contact with similar things in the environment. Family history includes all of these factors, any of which can affect your health.
Why is knowing family health history good for your health?
Most people have a family member that has a health history of at least one chronic disease, such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. If you have a close family member with a chronic disease, you may be more likely to develop that disease yourself, especially if more than one close relative has (or had) the disease or a family member got the disease at a younger age than usual.
Collect your family health history information before visiting the doctor, and take it with you. Even if you don’t know all of your family health history information, share what you do know. Family health history information, even if incomplete, can help your doctor decide which screening tests you need and when those tests should start.
How can I improve my health using our family health history?
You can’t change your genes, but you can change unhealthy behaviors. Be active, improve your eating habits, stop smoking. You may have the most to gain from lifestyle changes and screening tests.
Worried about your family health history? Make an appointment and discuss it with your doctor.