Saturday, July 07, 2007

Family Health History Tree

The US Department of Health and Human Services and the US Surgeon General just launched My Family Health Portrait.

Seems like a good idea. The skeptic in me thinks it sounds like big brother is watching.

Americans know that family history is important to health. A recent survey found that 96 percent of Americans believe that knowing their family history is important. Yet, the same survey found that only one-third of Americans have ever tried to gather and write down their family's health history.

Health care professionals have known for a long time that common diseases - heart disease, cancer, and diabetes - and even rare diseases - like hemophilia, cystic fibrosis, and sickle cell anemia - can run in families. If one generation of a family has high blood pressure, it is not unusual for the next generation to have similarly high blood pressure. Tracing the illnesses suffered by your parents, grandparents, and other blood relatives can help your doctor predict the disorders to which you may be at risk and take action to keep you and your family healthy.


Vic said...

It's a wise thing to do. Since it's for our own good, it's a must so that we will be able to minimize or avoid those ailments.

Sally said...

I agree. Most patients with families who have hereditary ailments probably had their share because of ignorance. With this reminder, I believe more people will be aware of their family's health history.