Have you ever wondered when you are at the doctors why you are asked about your family history? Your family history is a record of your diseases and health conditions in your family. You and your family share genetic information that gets passed from generation to generation and expresses itself as various medical conditions, behaviors, and habits. You may live in the same area and may encounter similar things in that environment.

Family history includes all these things and may affect your health.

Most people have a family health history of at least one chronic disease such as cancer, heart disease, or diabetes. If you have a close family member with a chronic disease, you may be more likely to develop the disease yourself, especially if more than one close relative has (0r had) the disease, or a family member developed the disease at a younger age than usual.

How can you use your family history to improve your health? You cannot change your genes, but you can change your behaviors such as smoking, drinking, not exercising, poor eating habits, or not getting enough sleep. If

you have a family history of disease; you may have the most to gain from lifestyle changes and screening tests. In many cases, adopting health habits

can reduce the risk of disease that run in your family. Screening tests such a colonoscopy, mammograms, and blood sugar testing can help your doctor detect early signs of disease and lead you to better health in the long run.

If you are not sure what your family history is, take advantage this Holiday season when you all gather to discuss it. Also, review of family records and death certificates as well as the age of a family members death. Write down any information you obtain and take this information to your next doctor’s appointment to assist your physician is guiding you to a long healthy future.

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