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What's in your family tree? 

What's in your family tree? 

Tuesday, September 20, 2022


When you're at a doctor's appointment and asked about your family history, do you answer that your ancestors moved here from across the ocean? That's not the information providers are seeking. The doctor wants to know if anyone in your family has a medical condition worth mentioning, like heart disease, cancer or diabetes. When you respond they want you to include medical conditions, causes of death, age at disease diagnosis, age at death and ethnic background. Be sure to update the information regularly and share what you've learned with your family and doctor. 


Why is it important? 

Health problems sometimes run in the family, and most people have a family health history of at least one chronic disease. That's why it's important to know as much as you can about the health problems of your birth family. Information about your family's health history can help your doctor provide better care because you may be more likely to develop that disease yourself. Share with your provider if more than one close relative has (or had) the condition and got the disease at a younger age than usual. 


How you can use history to improve your future 

You can't change your genes, but you may have the most to gain from lifestyle changes and screening tests if you have a family health history of disease. "Screening tests, such as blood sugar testing, mammograms and colorectal cancer screening help find early signs of disease," said Angela Paima, APRN-CNP, Genesis Primary Care. "In many cases, healthy living habits can reduce your risk for diseases that run in your family." 




Genesis HealthCare System’s Health and Wellness content conveniently provides accurate and helpful information. Your health history and current health may impact suggestions provided through our Health and Wellness content. Although we hope this information is helpful, it is not a substitute for your doctor's medical advice. Before making any significant changes, please consult your doctor.