Remember to Keep a Family Medical History
Traditional family historians typically research the lives of their ancestors over generations. Research suggests that keeping a family medical history may help you live a longer, healthier life. Obviously, the medical histories of first degree blood relatives (parents, siblings, and children) are most important, but information on grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins may be critical in outlining risks of certain diseases.
According to the AMA, "gathering a complete and accurate family medical history is becoming more important as genetic medicine explains more diseases." The organization offers a webpage with tools to aid both the physician and patient.
The Mayo Clinic website lists ways in which a family medical history might be useful:
- Assess your risk of certain diseases
- Recommend treatments or changes in diet or lifestyle habits to reduce the risk of disease
- Determine which diagnostic tests to order
- Determine the type and frequency of screening tests
- Determine whether you or family members should get a specific genetic test
- Identify a condition that might not otherwise be considered
- Identify other family members who are at risk of developing a certain disease
- Assess your risk of passing conditions on to your children
Contact your local Springfield-Greene County Library for help locating forms or suggestions on completing your family medical history.
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