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Create a family history tree

Everything You Need to Tell Your Doctor About Your Family Medical History and Why It’s So Important

Everyone has a unique set of inherited traits; maybe you have your dad’s silky black hair or your mom’s beautiful brown eyes. Now medical experts also say that one-third to one-half of your potential health problems may have their origins in your family’s medical history. And they agree that knowing this information will help keep you healthy and could help save your life.

Before you panic, understand that your family history does not automatically imply high-risk. It is very possible that a serious disease in your family is a chance occurrence, affecting your relatives in the same way that it affects the rest of the population and presenting little or no increased risk to you.

But all risk is a matter of degree. You are at greatest risk of getting cancer or other diseases if a first-degree relative has had or has it. First-degree relatives are parents, brothers and sisters and children. Second-degree relatives are grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and half-siblings. Your risk of getting sick from second-degree relatives is much less than your risk from first-degree relatives.

It’s very important to not only identify diseases your family members had or have, but also to find out how old they were when they first got sick. The earlier your relative is diagnosed the higher the probability that it could be passed on to you, placing you in a higher-risk category.

Now that you know how important it is to fill out your family tree, it’s time to print a template (this is a PDF) and create your own. You are ready now to talk to as many relatives and friends as possible and do some very interesting detective work.

A family tree works for blood relatives only. If you are adopted, you will need to find out the health history of your family of origin, if possible. If not, you can’t go wrong by just practicing healthy habits and Self chec is there to help you.

If you find that you may be at a higher risk for certain diseases, your doctor may suggest that you begin your early detection screenings at a younger age than the guidelines suggest ~ see self-checs pages of this Website. Either way you are in a win-win situation.