Published On: Tue, Sep 4th, 2018

How to Learn More About Your Family Medical History

A doctor will often ask about the health of your relatives during a medical checkup, as they will be looking for clues on the best diagnosis and treatment options to provide today and in the future. This is because your genetics will play a major role in your general health.

To ensure you live a long, healthy and happy life, here’s how to learn more about your family’s medical history.

photo/ Gerald Oswald

Talk to Your Relatives About Their Health

As the health of your parents, grandparents, siblings, aunties, uncles, and cousins can all impact your wellbeing, you have a responsibility to talk to your relatives about their health. While it might not be a natural conversation to start with family members, simply explain why you want to gather the information. It’s also essential to listen without judgment.

You must, however, respect a family member’s right to privacy, so don’t push them if they do not want to talk about their health complaints with you. Also, don’t forget to share your medical history, so your relatives make important decisions regarding their health.

Create a Medical Family Tree

Once you have spoken to your loved ones about their lifestyle and health conditions, try to create a medical family tree. This could help you to identify patterns in your family’s medical history, such as addiction or a specific disease. You also should go deeper into your family history to discover your ancestors’ cause of death. Gather the following information about your relatives:

  • Sex
  • Ethnicity
  • Date of birth
  • Medical conditions
  • Pregnancy complications
  • Age when diagnosed with a condition
  • Lifestyle habits
  • Age and cause of death

Gain Access to Family Documents Online

If you know your relatives’ names, you might be able to gain access to their medical history online. For example, you could learn more about your genetic profile by viewing your family members’ birth and/or death certificates, obituaries, and old letters. By doing so, you can assess your susceptibility to certain genetic medical conditions, so you can alter your lifestyle to improve your overall health.

Look for Signs of an Undiagnosed Health Condition

Unfortunately, a loved one might be living with an undiagnosed health condition, such as alcoholism, which could be hereditary. For example, studies have found that alcohol abuse can be linked to specific genes. If your parent or sibling is an alcoholic, you will have an increased chance of struggling with the addiction. If you or a loved one are currently living with a dependency, you can enter a substance abuse program at a rehab center for alcohol addiction in Los Angeles.

Ask Your Doctor to Review Your Medical History

Once you have gathered as much information as you can, give your doctor a copy of your family’s medical history. A doctor may ask additional questions to make a full assessment before they can recommend preventative measures or book screening tests. Also, don’t forget to update your doctor with any changes to your family’s health.

Author: Carol Trehearn

On the DISPATCH: Headlines  Local  Opinion

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- Outside contributors to the Dispatch are always welcome to offer their unique voices, contradictory opinions or presentation of information not included on the site.

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