28 Apr 2014 01:50:34 MDT Written by: Administrator

Family Health History

You've arrived at your doctor's office on time and ready for your appointment. Then, the office staff hands you a clipboard full of paperwork you need to fill out. A familiar scene in any physician's waiting room around the nation, and for good reason. Filling out that medical information may give your doctor some insight into your medical past, and may even help ensure a safer physical future.

There is even more you can do to help your healthcare provider. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), knowing your family history might be one of the strongest factors in determining your risk of disease, and helping with prevention. You can do that by collecting your family health history and creating what is called a family health portrait. Our Family Health Portrait Form can help.

Now, whenever you go to the doctor, the hospital or any other healthcare provider, you should bring this information with you. It will help you fill out that paperwork and provide valuable information to the medical personnel who care for you.

Genes & risk of disease

Changing your genetic makeup is not an option, but according to CDC, knowing your genetic makeup, your family history, can leave you with a map of sorts of what you can expect down the road, and may even be able to help you chart a new course of direction. CDC says that the key features of a family history that may increase risk include:

  • diseases that occur at an early age
  • diseases in several family members
  • a combination of diseases in a family
  • a disease that does not usually affect a certain gender

Healthcare professionals have known for years that many common diseases are genetic, or run in families. For example, if one generation of a family has heart, it is not unusual for the next generation to have cardiac problems. According to the United States Department of Health & Human Services (HHS), tracing diseases like heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes, alcoholism and depression may help your doctor predict the disorders of which you may be at risk. Even knowledge of rare diseases like hemophilia, sickle cell anemia and cystic fibrosis can be extremely helpful in taking action to help keep you and your family healthy.

Want to learn more about Family Medical Histories? Check out our Health Library

Related Stories