Tomorrow is National Family Health History Day!

By November 26, 2014Archives

Family health history is extremely important as it helps with preventive care, diagnosis, and treatment for a range of disorders and diseases.

Family Health History
Family health history is recognized as an integral component in medical care. Knowledge and documentation of family health history can assist in extending the quantitative and increasing the qualitative elements of life, not solely for the elderly, but for the entire family.

There are numerous health conditions that people are predisposed to. Having knowledge of these disorders can help medical professionals design an effective preventive care plan. Simply altering a few habits may prove to be extremely valuable. Such alterations include include dietary intake, physical activity, and routine medical visits.

Crucial Considerations
Initiating the discussion about family health history is quite simple, especially during the holidays. It’s important to phrase questions gently as this topic may be painful. Have a journal handy during these discussions to jot down notes. It’s a good idea to compile a list of questions in advance. If seniors seem emotionally distressed, try discussing at a different time and be sure to pay close attention to their feelings.

There are several questions that should be asked about seniors’ family health history. These include causes of death in the immediate family, birth defects, and the existence of disease. Keep in mind this will not only help the elders of the family, but also the younger relatives as well. Some specific conditions to inquire about are:

  • Certain types of cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Arthritis
  • Stroke
  • Heart disease
  • Osteoporosis

There are also some risks factors to include:

  • Specific combinations of disease
  • Premature disease
  • Multiple immediate relatives with the same condition
  • Disease that affected uncommon members i.e. men diagnosed with breast cancer

Helpful Hints

There are a number of ways to document this vital information. Approximately 33% of all Americans have a documented family health history. There are many ways you can get started today. Consider these options:

  • There are numerous websites which offer family health history documentation tools for free.
  • Many common computer programs have templates to document family health history which are print friendly.
  • The app market provides a number of applications at no cost to document this history as well as some that are more sophisticated for a nominal charge.
  • The My Family Health Portrait Tool is offered on the web in four languages.

Be sure to print and distribute this information to other family members and health care providers involved and keep several copies available for future requirements.

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