October is Family History Month and articles are popping up everywhere about activities for the month. You can build a family tree, create a scrapbook, make a family cookbook, contact long lost relatives, write your family’s story, and those are just a few of the suggestions floating around.
Looking through the Prevention magazine this weekend I read an article called “But It Doesn’t Run In My Family.” The article began with the story of two sisters who were diagnosed with breast cancer. Neither knew it ran on their father’s side of the family. One sadly, did not survive the cancer while the other sister survived the treatment.
So where do you start building a family health history? The same way you build a family tree. Note the names of your direct line and their children. Add birth and death dates into your information for each person and also add major illnesses they experience in their lifetimes and causes of death.
When you map all this out what do you find? A high risk of diabetes or heart disease? A certain type of cancer runs in your family? Obesity? Alcoholism? Knowing about your family’s health history can help you plan your health future.
Want to know more? Visit these sites.
- Surgeon General’s Family Health History
- National Institute of Health
- Genetic Alliance
- National Society of Genetic Counselors
- Creating a Medical Family Tree from About.com
- Virginia Department of Health’s Family History Form and Tips
- October is Family History Month (examiner.com)
- To Tell or Not to Tell : Should the Family Skeleton Stay in the Closet Review (examiner.com)