Your aunt has a great idea. gathering a comprehensive health history of your family can be a life-saving gift to future generations of your family. It takes time and effort to do it well.
The Surgeon General's My Family Health Portrait tool can help you and your family collect and organize family health history information, and allows you to share this information easily with your doctor.
This information can help your doctor, or a doctor caring for other family members, decide which tests and screenings are recommended to better assess health risks.
If you are concerned about a disease running in your family, collect your family health history and talk to your doctor at your next visit, suggests the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
A doctor can evaluate all of the factors that may affect your risk of some diseases, including family health history, and can recommend ways to reduce that risk. A family health history makes sense because:
- Family members share genes, behaviors, lifestyles, and environments, which together may affect their risk of developing health problems.
- Most people have a family health history of common chronic diseases (e.g., cancer, heart disease, or diabetes) and other health conditions (e.g., high blood pressure and high cholesterol).
- A person with a close relative affected by a chronic disease may have a higher risk of developing that disease than a person who does not have an affected relative.
After collecting your information, update it from time to time. Before you sit down and figure out a family health history, perhaps you and your relatives could check out how a Home Instead CAREGiver could help your aunt. The benefits are numerous: personal care, assistance with food preparation, light housekeeping, errands, medication reminders and,most important to many seniors, companionship. Contact a local Home Instead Senior Care office to learn more.
For more information about Home Instead Senior Care, contact Sharon Massafra at 203-386-1151 or go to www.homeinstead.com/307. For more on the Family Health Portrait, check out https://familyhistory.hhs.gov/fhh-web/home.action.