Nov 18, 2019

Reviewing Your Family Medical History this Thanksgiving


Thanksgiving is one of those rare opportunities to sit around a table with all of your family members together at once.  It is often a great time for sharing stories and memories across generations. One of the most important things you can share with your family is medical history.

Why is knowing your family’s medical history important?

Your family’s medical history can help inform you of your own health and health risks. It is important that you stay updated and aware of your family’s medical history, so that you will know what conditions and illnesses run in your family that you may be at risk for.
Knowing your family’s medical history will help your doctor know how to advise you in your own health. If an illness runs in your family, your doctor may be able to help you prevent certain diseases or monitor your health so that a problem can be detected early on.

Heart Disease in Families

Heart disease is one of the most commonly inherited conditions.  Some of the most common heart diseases include
– Coronary heart disease
– Heart failure
– Arrhythmia
– Valvular heart disease
Heart disease can be dangerous, but if your doctor knows that it runs in your family, he or she may be able to identify it early on which can help to significantly improve a heart disease patient’s life.


If your family has a history of a certain kind of cancer, your doctor may encourage certain tests and screenings to ensure you do not have cancer or to catch it early on. A patient’s chance of surviving cancer is usually much higher if the cancer is caught early on.
Some cancers that commonly run in families are
–  Breast cancer
–  Ovarian cancer
–  Prostate cancer

High Cholesterol, High blood pressure, and Diabetes

These conditions often run in families, and if left unnoticed or untreated, can lead to worse problems. Being aware of your family’s medical history can help you doctor monitor your own health and intervene if any problems do arise.

Keep your doctor and your family in the know

Your family’s medical history should be shared with your doctor, so that he or she can be informed about what medical concerns you may be at risk for and work to reduce that risk. Additionally, make sure your family communicates with each other periodically about health problems. This will help contribute to the overall health of your family.

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