Making a family tree can be much more than just an interesting hobby. You can create a “healthful” legacy for your children by adding information about the diseases that have occurred in your family – turning your family tree into a family health tree.
Your family health history can help identify the hereditary diseases you are more likely to develop and pass down to your children. It can even be life-saving.
When you document your family health history, you can share it with your doctor and child’s pediatrician who may use it to:
- Assess your risk of certain diseases
- Assess the risk to your relatives including your children
- Diagnosis a health condition
- Recommend more effective treatments
- Recommend lifestyle changes to help lower your disease risk
- Recommend preventative measures
- Determine which clinical, screening or genetic tests to consider
- Determine how frequently to screen and monitor for disease
- Refer you to a genetic specialist for further consultation
A family health history is only as helpful as it is accurate. This means that you may have to ask your relatives to fill in missing information. Once you have collected your family health history, make sure to update it when any major changes occur including diseases diagnoses, births, miscarriages and deaths.
An innovative alternative to pen and paper, Inherited Health’s Family Health History tool allows families to archive their history together in a secure online fashion. The inputted information is then analyzed to produce a Personal Health Guide, which identifies hereditary disease risks and ways to lower these risks. Families can privately share their health information amongst themselves or print their Personal Health Guide for their doctor.
Armed with this knowledge, we can all take steps to improve our health and that of our loved ones.