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5 Surprising Benefits of Knowing Your Family Medical History

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Georgia Carter Updated: 17 September 2021
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We all know how important it is to take care of our physical health. But what about your family’s health? Knowing your family history can help you make better decisions and track any hereditary conditions that might be in the cards for you. Knowing your family’s medical history could save a life. 

While it may be a difficult subject to talk about, it’s of vital importance that you find out. Knowing your family medical history can give you peace of mind when making big life decisions. You may learn something new about yourself or an illness that runs in the family. It also gives doctors an insight into medications and treatments they should avoid with specific members of their extended families. Learn all about how to find your family medical history and the benefits.

Key facts

  • There are many benefits in learning about your family medical history, such as becoming aware of what condition you may develop and learning to change your lifestyle to prevent it.
  • There are specific questions you should ask when finding out about your family medical history.
  • Your family health history may affect the cost of your private health insurance premiums.
  • Cancer, dementia, and diabetes are among the most common conditions to be passed down through generations.

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What information do you need to know

Although it’s often hard to know why something happens, new research suggests that having a family health history of at least one chronic disease can increase your chances of developing another. Suppose you have an immediate relative with this pattern. In that case, especially if they had or got the condition before age 40-50 years old—you may want to get medical advice about what steps are available for keeping yourself healthy. There are a few vital pieces of information you need to make up the entirety of your family health history. These include:

Medical conditions you should ask your relatives about include:

Who’s information do you need to get?

You can use family members to help you investigate your medical history. First, talk to the people closest, such as your parents and siblings. Then, move on to grandparents and ask them about their parents. If you wish to know more, it’s always a good idea to ask aunts and uncles as well. It’s important for everyone in a family who wants information about their heritage. Record yourself too so that future generations know what was said when they ask why certain things happened during life experiences

What questions should you ask about your family medical history?

It can be difficult to ask extremely personal questions, especially when it comes to health. However, the information is vital for us to know. When finding out about your family medical history, you need to ask a few important questions. These include:

5 reasons why it’s important to understand your family’s health history

The family is a powerful influencer on our health. If you have an extended genetic line with certain hereditary diseases, it’s more likely that at some point in your life, either as a child or adult, one will be diagnosed and affect the rest because they “pass down” these conditions from generation to next through mutation.

A person’s risk factor for developing specific inherited illnesses varies depending upon which members were already carriers before birth; so knowing how many generations back this applies can help make decisions about what changes might decrease risks further still

1. Knowing your family health history can help you prevent serious diseases

If you have a close family member with chronic diseases, such as cancer or heart disease, then the chances of them developing these conditions are higher than average. Chronic conditions like cancer can be hereditary, so if more than one relative has (or had) this medical issue in their past, then there’s a good chance others will, too, unless steps are taken now for prevention!

2. Learning about the medical conditions in your family gives you a better understanding of what to watch out for

A family health history can help identify if you are at higher risk for certain conditions because of your shared genes and behaviours. When you know what medical issues run through your family, you will be more aware and alert about your own health and lifestyle. This could help you either prevent developing a serious illness or mitigate its harmful effects

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3. Family health histories also provide insight into how certain traits are passed down from generation to generation

Learning about your family history can be a fun experience. You will not only feel more in touch with your family and the passing down of genes, but you’ll also glean more information about the biology and how specific characteristics and traits are passed down through generations.

4. Understanding your genetic risk factors can keep you from being surprised by a diagnosis later on in life

Family health histories can help identify if you are at higher risk for certain conditions because of your shared genes and behaviours. This is especially true when a person’s symptoms seem similar to those experienced by family members in the past or have exhibited pre-existing traits related to wellness.

5. Knowing your family health5. It’s easier to make healthy lifestyle choices when you know more about your family’s past struggles with weight, heart disease, and cancer

It’s easy to change the way you live! Habits are a big part of how your body functions, and if practised regularly, they can have lasting effects. If there is a family history or risk factor for disease present in their genes, then it might make sense that those individuals would take extra precautions regarding what habits they practice. This includes staying active by exercising on most days, eating healthy foods, and even taking care when deciding which medications will work best

Will my family health history affect my ability to get private health insurance?

No, it won’t affect your ability to apply for private health insurance. However, if you have developed one of the conditions that commonly runs in your family. However, it may affect your waiting periods so you may need to serve longer waiting periods if you suffer from specific conditions.

Frequently asked questions and answers.

  • What should be included in a family medical history?

    You need to know what diseases or conditions are prevalent within your family gene pool. This could be a history or series of cancer, diabetes, asthma, or arthritis. You also need to know which of your relatives have suffered from a condition and if one of them had passed away as a result, what age they were when they did.
  • How do you ask a family health history question?

    It’s best to ask your close relatives, such as parents, aunts, and uncles. There are a few questions you can ask them, including: Have any of my relatives died of a serious disease or condition? How old was my relative when they died? What was the cause of my relative’s death? Are there any serious health problems that run in the family that could have been passed down to me? Does our family suffer from any allergies?
  • Which diseases commonly run in families?

    Cancer is one of the most common diseases to be genetically passed down. Cardiovascular diseases, including heart attacks and strokes, are also common occurrences in family health. Others include osteoporosis, which is the thinking of bones, eye health, arthritis, dementia, blood clotting, and diabetes
  • Who is considered immediate family for medical history?

    The general rule for family health history is that more is better. First, you’ll want to focus on immediate family members related through blood – your parents and siblings; then think about grandparents if they’re still alive (and know partial histories of many people). You can also gather information from aunts/uncles and other relatives such as cousins who share AncestryDNA report what seems closest in terms of genetic makeup when gathering data during testing sessions with them!
  • Why do doctors ask for medical history?

    Family members with similar genetic backgrounds are more likely to develop the same conditions. Healthcare professionals can use this information to determine who may be at risk of developing a particular disorder or even just noting any unusual trends among family members for future reference. Identical genetic backgrounds can lead family members to have similar environments and lifestyles. Together, these factors give clues that may be used by healthcare professionals in determining whether an individual or a relative is at risk for developing certain conditions based on their similarities with other carriers within the same gene pool.

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