Given the number of hereditary diseases and health conditions that can affect us, its important that a family is well aware of its own medical history. A family medical history can span anywhere from two to three generations and include parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, brothers and sisters. As you get older, its important that you make your medical history public to your family to assist them in keeping track of an inherited illnesses or preventable medical conditions.
What is the significance of a family medical history?
You can tell a lot about people by looking at their family. Families share traits, DNA, genetic patterns and even similar lifestyle behaviors. By paying attention to certain patterns in a family medical history, physicians can determine if an individual patient is more or less at risk for certain medical conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease or cancer.
If a condition runs in my family, am I guaranteed to get it?
No, not necessarily. Even if someone in your family has a condition such as diabetes, it doesn’t mean you are guaranteed to develop it. It just means you are a higher risk for diabetes than someone else. This should prompt you to begin preventable measures, such as eating a healthy diet, cutting down on alcohol consumption and assuming a regular fitness routine.
How should I keep my family informed?
If you’re going for routine checkups at least once a year, you have a firm grasp on your personal health conditions. If you experience or develop a condition that you feel is serious, you can let you family know privately or at a family gathering. You don’t need to disclose your entire personal medical status if you’re not completely comfortable; however, its very important that you make your family members aware of certain patterns of conditions like heart disease, cancer or diabetes, so they can take precautions and preventable measures.
Also, take time as a family to talk about the health of earlier generations. For instance, talk about how a grandparent died and how old he or she was. This information can help you and your children know what to expect and watch for.
For more information on how to keep your family informed of your medical history or hereditary medical conditions, visit us online at Aventura Hospital and Medical Center and feel free to speak with one of our trusted physicians. Should you need immediate assistance, you can call our Consult-A-Nurse service at 1-888-256-7692.
A Cancer Diagnosis: What’s Next?