7 ways your family health history helps

You may have a lot in common with your family members. Think about it. Has anybody ever told you, “You have your mom’s eyes,” or “You have your grandfather’s nose”?

Your genes help paint a picture of who you are. They help determine your eye, hair, and skin color. They affect how you look, some ways you behave, and even your blood type. But most importantly, they can help doctors learn what kinds of health problems might be passed on to you.

Know your health history roots

Put simply, your health history family tree—often called your family medical history—is a record of illnesses and health conditions that run in your family. These illnesses and conditions can range from cancer to heart disease to high blood pressure.

Chances are you have a family member who suffers from some type of health condition. If you do, you may have a higher chance of developing this condition as well. By knowing your health history family tree, you can pass this information along to your doctor.

Planting your health history family tree

While a health history family tree can’t predict the future of your health, it can be a vital tool for your doctor. According to the Mayo Clinic, your family medical history can help doctors:1

  • Identify medical conditions and determine your risk of certain diseases
  • Recommend treatments or ways to lower your risks
  • Determine which screenings and tests to run on you
  • Create a schedule for the frequency you should be tested for certain conditions
  • Decide whether you or family members should get a specific genetic test
  • Establish whether other family members are at risk of developing a certain disease
  • Predict your potential of passing a condition on to your children

The sooner you start developing your healthy history family tree, the earlier you can begin to use it to help protect your health.


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