“Family health history is a record of the diseases and health conditions in your family. You and your family members share genes. You may also have behaviors in common…”.1

Umbrella
What may the Family Medical History Umbrella include?

Depending on the Source (DotS) this Umbrella may include:

  • Family Health History
  • Family Health Portrait
  • Family History
  • Family History of Disease
  • Family Medical History
  • Family Tree for Health

Family History

What is a family history?

DotS the definition of a family history may vary. In Family History: Summary the (United States) MedlinePlus’s definition is:

“Your family history includes health information about you and your close relatives”.2

Family Health History

What is a family health history?

DotS the definition of a family health history may vary. In Family Health History: The Basics – What Is Family Health History? the (United States) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) definition is:

“Family health history is a record of the diseases and health conditions in your family. You and your family members share genes. You may also have behaviors in common, such as exercise habits and what you like to eat. You may live in the same area and come into contact with similar things in the environment. Family history includes all of these factors, any of which can affect your health”.3

How

How can I keep track of my family medical history?

In Five Minutes (or Less) for Health: More Than Five Minutes And Worth It – Know Your Family’s Health History the CDC explain:

“If you have a close relative with a chronic disease, such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, or cancer, then you could have an increased risk for developing that disease. Keep track of your family health history by writing down the health conditions of each family member. Take a few minutes to update this information from time to time. This way, you’ll have organized and accurate information ready to share with your health care provider. Family health history can help him/her determine which tests and screenings you should have. In many cases, adopting a healthier lifestyle can lower your risk for diseases that run in your family”.4

Tool

Is there a tool in which I can enter my family medical history?

The (United States) Surgeon General provides the tool My Family Health Portrait in which you can enter your family health history.

Important or Not

Is it important to know my family medical history?

Yes. In Family History: Summary MedlinePlus elaborate on:

“Families have many factors in common, including their genes, environment, and lifestyle. Looking at these factors can help you figure out whether you have a higher risk for certain health problems, such as heart disease, stroke, and cancer”.5

In Family Health History: The Basics – Why Is Family Health History Important for My Health? the CDC explain:

“Most people have a family health history of at least one chronic disease, such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. If you have a close family member with a chronic disease, you may be more likely to develop that disease yourself, especially if more than one close relative has (or had) the disease or a family member got the disease at a younger age than usual”.6

Prevention

Is there an association between prevention and family medical history?

In Family Health History: The Basics – How Can I Use My Family Health History To Improve My Health? the CDC note:

“You can’t change your genes, but you can change unhealthy behaviors, such as smoking, not exercising or being active, and poor eating habits. If you have a family health history of disease, you may have the most to gain from lifestyle changes and screening tests. In many cases, healthy living habits can reduce your risk for diseases that run in your family. Screening tests, such as blood sugar testing, mammograms, and colorectal cancer screening, help find early signs of disease. Finding disease early can often mean better health in the long run”.7

In Family History: Summary MedlinePlus explain:

“Having a family member with a disease raises your risk, but it does not mean that you will definitely get it. Knowing that you are at risk gives you a chance to reduce that risk by following a healthier lifestyle and getting tested as needed”.8

Act

As a result of my family history, how can I act?

In Family Health History: The Basics – Knowing Is Not Enough–Act on Your Family Health History! the CDC elaborate on:

  • “Has your mother or sister had breast cancer? Talk with your doctor about whether having a mammogram earlier is right for you
  • Does your mom, dad, sister, or brother have diabetes? Ask your doctor how early you should be screened for diabetes
  • Did your mom, dad, brother, or sister get colorectal (colon) cancer before age 50? Talk with your doctor about whether you should start getting colonoscopies earlier or have them done more often”.9

Health Care Provider

Is it important to share my family medical history with my health care provider?

It may be in your best interest to choose to share your family medical history with your health care provider.

In Family Health History: The Basics – Why Is Family Health History Important for My Health? the CDC explain:

“Collect your family health history information before visiting the doctor, and take it with you. Even if you don’t know all of your family health history information, share what you do know. Family health history information, even if incomplete, can help your doctor decide which screening tests you need and when those tests should start”.10

MedlinePlus explain:

“You can get started by talking to your relatives about their health. Draw a family tree and add the health information. Having copies of medical records and death certificates is also helpful”.11

Health Topics A-Z

Where may I find Health Topics related to Family Medical History?

In Health Topics A-Z you may find:

Links

Where may I find Links related to Family Medical History?

Your Country may have Links similar to:

Sources

Where may I find the Sources quoted?

You may find the Sources quoted at:

Sources

  1. Family Health History: The Basics – What Is Family Health History? Page Last Reviewed: 03 October 2019. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention https://www.cdc.gov/genomics/famhistory/famhist_basics.htm Accessed: 15 September 2020
  2. Family History: Summary. Page Last Updated on: 30 April 2020. Topic Last Reviewed: 14 June 2020. MedlinePlus https://medlineplus.gov/familyhistory.html Accessed: 15 September 2020
  3. Family Health History: The Basics – What Is Family Health History? Page Last Reviewed: 03 October 2019. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention https://www.cdc.gov/genomics/famhistory/famhist_basics.htm Accessed: 15 September 2020
  4. Five Minutes (or Less) for Health: More Than Five Minutes And Worth It – Know Your Family’s Health History. Page Last Reviewed: 23 December 2015. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention https://www.cdc.gov/family/minutes/index.htm Accessed: 15 September 2020
  5. Family History: Summary. Page Last Updated on: 30 April 2020. Topic Last Reviewed: 14 June 2020. MedlinePlus https://medlineplus.gov/familyhistory.html Accessed: 15 September 2020
  6. Family Health History: The Basics – Why Is Family Health History Important for My Health? Page Last Reviewed: 03 October 2019. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention https://www.cdc.gov/genomics/famhistory/famhist_basics.htm Accessed: 15 September 2020
  7. Family Health History: The Basics – Why Is Family Health History Important for My Health? Page Last Reviewed: 03 October 2019. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention https://www.cdc.gov/genomics/famhistory/famhist_basics.htm Accessed: 15 September 2020
  8. Family History: Summary. Page Last Updated on: 30 April 2020. Topic Last Reviewed: 14 June 2020. MedlinePlus https://medlineplus.gov/familyhistory.html Accessed: 15 September 2020
  9. Family Health History: The Basics – Knowing Is Not Enough–Act on Your Family Health History! Page Last Reviewed: 03 October 2019. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention https://www.cdc.gov/genomics/famhistory/famhist_basics.htm Accessed: 15 September 2020
  10. Family Health History: The Basics – Why Is Family Health History Important for My Health? Page Last Reviewed: 03 October 2019. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention https://www.cdc.gov/genomics/famhistory/famhist_basics.htm Accessed: 15 September 2020
  11. Family History: Summary. Page Last Updated on: 30 April 2020. Topic Last Reviewed: 14 June 2020. MedlinePlus https://medlineplus.gov/familyhistory.html Accessed: 15 September 2020

Topic Last Updated: 15 September 2020 – Topic Last Reviewed: 15 September 2020
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