Family Health History: A Gift That Keeps On Giving

The importance of knowing what diseases your loved ones have. 

Posted: 07/05/2013 10:50 AM EDT
Family Health History: A Gift That Keeps On Giving

Holidays are wonderful times to enjoy delicious food and talk with family members. As you all gather together, why not focus on your family’s health and collect a family health history?

What is a family health history?

Family health history is a written record of information about your family’s medical conditions, lifestyles, behaviors, and environment.

Tracing the illnesses suffered by your relatives, such as diabetes, heart problems and cancer, can help your doctor assess your risk for certain diseases and recommend actions to keep you and your family healthy. In addition, a family history of a genetic disorder, like sickle cell disease, can mean the condition is in your genes, and can possibly be passed on to your children.

Talk with your family about their medical conditions, including diagnoses and symptoms. Keep a written record, and update it as needed.

What is sickle cell trait?

Sickle cell trait is not a disease; it is inherited from a person’s parents. People who inherit one sickle cell gene and one normal gene have sickle cell trait. People with sickle cell trait usually don’t have any symptoms of sickle cell disease and may not know it runs in their family.

Read more about the importance of knowing your family health history at BlackDoctor.Org.

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