Importance of family health history By VieFit Sutra


Why?

Most of us know that we can reduce our risk of disease by eating a healthy diet, getting enough exercise, and not smoking. But, did you know that your family history might be one of the strongest influences on your risk of developing heart disease, stroke, diabetes, or cancer? Even though you cannot change your genetic makeup, knowing your family history can help you reduce your risk of developing health problems. All those questions about your relatives’ health conditions can seem like a bother, but they help the doctor know what to be on the lookout for with you. For example, if your father has high blood pressure, she might want to keep a closer eye on yours. Both nature (your genes) and nurture (your family’s lifestyle) can have an effect on your health -- and you get both from your parents. Register with www.viecare.in and start managing your family health records

 

Information doctor needs:

You should tell him about any ongoing conditions (like diabetes, hypertension or asthma) or serious illnesses (like cancer or a stroke) your parents, grandparents, and siblings have or had and how old they were when the health problem started. If any of them have passed away, let your doctor know their cause of death and how old they were when they died. He also may ask about things like your family’s lifestyle or diet, because relatives tend to have these in common.

 

Medical conditions which run in family:

Family members share their genes, as well as their environment, lifestyles, and habits. Everyone can recognize traits such as curly hair, dimples, leanness, or athletic ability that run in their families. Risks for diseases such as asthma, diabetes, cancer, and heart disease also run in families. Everyone’s family history of disease is different. The key features of a family history that may increase risk are:

  • Diseases that occur at an earlier age than expected (10 to 20 years before most people get the disease)

  • Disease in more than one close relative

  • Disease that does not usually affect a certain gender (for example, breast cancer in a male)

Certain combinations of diseases within a family (for example, breast and ovarian cancer, or heart disease and diabetes)

Some issues that can be passed down include:

  • Diabetes

  • Dementia

  • Certain types of cancer

  • High cholesterol

  • Obesity

  • Asthma

  • Heart disease

  • Blood clots

  • Arthritis

  • Depression

  • High blood pressure

 

Does My Ethnicity Matter?

Your doctor may ask about your race because people who have roots in certain parts of the world are more likely to have some conditions. For example, African-Americans have a higher chance of having sickle cell anemia, and Jewish people from Eastern Europe are more likely to be born with Tay-Sachs disease.Our weight and height are also an example for this.

Getting Information of family history?

To learn about your family history:

  • Ask questions

  • Talk at family gatherings

  • Look at death certificates and family medical records, if possible

Collect information about your grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, siblings, and children. The type of information to collect includes:

  • Major medical conditions and causes of death

  • Age of disease onset and age at death

  • Ethnic background

Write down the information and share it with your doctor. Your doctor will:

Assess your disease risk based on your family history and other risk factors

Recommend lifestyle changes to help prevent disease

Prescribe screening tests to detect disease early

If your doctor notices a pattern of disease in your family, it may be a sign of an inherited form of disease that is passed on from generation to generation. Your doctor may refer you to a specialist who can help determine if you have an inherited form of disease. Genetic testing may also help determine if you or your family members are at risk. Even with inherited forms of disease, steps can be taken to reduce your risk. And you might find some family trees, baby books, or other keepsakes that could be useful.

 

Getting Records

If you have questions your relatives can’t answer, death certificates or medical records can give you specifics like age at death, cause of death, and ethnic background. The rules are different for each state, but close family members are often allowed to order copies of these. Obituaries -- often posted online -- also may have some of this information.

 

 

Genetics

You can go a step further if you get your genes tested, sometimes called DNA testing. Typically, you send a sample of your saliva to a company and they send you a report. This can tell if you’re more likely to get certain diseases or pass problem genes to your children.

 

What If I Don’t Have the Right Information?

You may not have all the answers, and that’s OK. Just talk to your doctor about the information you do have or tell her that you don’t know much about your family health history. She can help you sort through it and maybe even tell you where else to look. Even if you’re missing some facts, any information you have can be useful.

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