The importance of knowing your family’s health history

Having a good understanding of your family’s health history is essential in disease prevention. Many of the most common and fatal disease can be hereditary, including heart disease, cancer and diabetes.

Knowing your risks allows you take the right lifesaving steps. Together, you and your doctor will be able to take the right precautions to lower your risk of suffering from an illness that a family member has suffered from. Here are some of the key things you should know about your family health:

  • Medical history of relatives on both sides of your family.
  • The age at which a family member’s health problem began.
  • The races and countries of origins of family members.

Learning about patterns or common illnesses in your family will better prepare you to take early steps to reduce the risk of developing those diseases. Preventative measures can include making simple changes that prompt a healthier lifestyle or receiving appropriate medical screenings early and often.