A family medical history is a record of health information about a person and his or her close relatives. A complete record includes information from three generations of relatives, including children, brothers and sisters, parents, aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews, grandparents, and cousins.
Families have many factors in common, including their genes, environment, and lifestyle. Together, these factors can give clues to medical conditions that may run in a family. By noticing patterns of disorders among relatives, healthcare professionals can determine whether an individual, other family members, or future generations may be at an increased risk of developing a particular condition.
A family medical history can identify people with a higher-than-usual chance of having common disorders, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, certain cancers, and diabetes. These complex disorders are influenced by a combination of genetic factors, environmental conditions, and lifestyle choices. A family history also can provide information about the risk of rarer conditions caused by mutations in a single gene, such as cystic fibrosis and sickle cell disease.
While a family medical history provides information about the risk of specific health concerns, having relatives with a medical condition does not mean that an individual will definitely develop that condition. On the other hand, a person with no family history of a disorder may still be at risk of developing that disorder.
Knowing one’s family medical history allows a person to take steps to reduce his or her risk. For people at an increased risk of certain cancers, healthcare professionals may recommend more frequent screening (such as mammography or colonoscopy) starting at an earlier age. Healthcare providers may also encourage regular checkups or testing for people with a medical condition that runs in their family. Additionally, lifestyle changes such as adopting a healthier diet, getting regular exercise, and quitting smoking help many people lower their chances of developing heart disease and other common illnesses.
The easiest way to get information about family medical history is to talk to relatives about their health. Have they had any medical problems, and when did they occur? A family gathering could be a good time to discuss these issues. Additionally, obtaining medical records and other documents (such as obituaries and death certificates) can help complete a family medical history. It is important to keep this information up-to-date and to share it with a healthcare professional regularly.
Essay on Family Health History
1475 WordsMar 9th, 20116 Pages
Americans today are faced with a number of health issues, mainly as a result of poor diet, lack of exercise, and lifestyle choices; but, of course, genetics does play a part. My family, for example, has a history of several issues. My father suffers from diabetes and asthma, which my children have as well. My older sister and I both suffer from stress, which is most likely causing our chronic heartburn and my headaches; and, both my husband and I are borderline obese, which is a gateway disease to many others. While some of these issues are linked genetically, many of them are due to lifestyle, which can be viewed as both negative and positive. Negative because we brought these ailments onto ourselves, but positive because we can…show more content…
This results in severe attacks, requiring a trip to the hospital emergency room. As stated earlier, my three children also have asthma, which is in no doubt genetically linked to my father— their grandfather. Fortunately, they have mild symptoms, and inhalers are only needed during cold and flu season as a preventative measure. However, they are at higher risk of developing pneumonia or bronchitis due to their asthmatic predisposition, and unfortunately, there has been previous winters when this has happened. Because of this, as soon as any of the children have signs of a cold, they are immediately treated with their inhalers.
Stress is simply a fact of nature—forces from the outside world affecting the individual. These forces are related to both internal and external factors. External factors include the physical environment, such as one’s job, school, or home, relationships with others and all the situations and challenges one confronts on a daily basis. Internal factors include one’s overall health and fitness levels, diet, emotional well-being and the amount of sleep one gets. How an individual responds to these factors vary, as well as the symptoms associated with it. My sister and I both have stress for various and different reasons, but we do share similar symptoms. We have both reported sleep disturbances and lack of sleep, as well as chronic heartburn. Other symptoms I have experienced are moodiness, headaches and bruxism