Your genes determine factors like your hair and eye color, the shape of your nose and your body type. You might even have the same laugh as your mother, or walk with the same gait as your father. While these types of things are easily seen by the naked eye, certain medical conditions your family members had may not be so easy to determine from just a glance. And, your family history can have a major impact on your overall health and wellness.
Along with genes, families also often share similar environments and lifestyles. When we take all these factors together, we notice patterns of certain conditions or diseases that run in your family. Many of these conditions, like heart disease, type 2 diabetes and even some types of cancer have risk factors that can be addressed early on – if you know you’re more at risk.
This is why it’s so important to learn as much as you can about your family health history. A family medical history is a record of health information about both your health and the health of your close relatives from the last three generations. These relatives include your parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts/uncles, and cousins.
Keep in mind that just because a family member had a condition doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed to have it, too. However, being armed with this information can help you take the steps needed to reduce your risk by getting regular checkups, preventive tests or making healthy lifestyle changes.
The more you know about your family history, the better. So, how do you compile all this vital information? A few tips include:
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