Happy Father’s Day: Know Your Family Health History
Fact Sheet: Family History is Important for Health
Family Health History and Your Risk of Disease
- Diseases that occur at an earlier age than expected (10 to 20 years before most people get the disease);
- Disease in more than one close relative;
- Disease that does not usually affect a certain gender (for example, breast cancer in a male);
- Certain combinations of diseases within a family (for example, breast and ovarian cancer, or heart disease and diabetes).
Using Family Health History to Promote Your Health
Learning About Your Family History
- ask questions,
- talk at family gatherings, and
- look at death certificates and family medical records, if possible.
- major medical conditions and causes of death,
- age of disease onset and age at death, and
- ethnic background
- assess your disease risk based on your family health history and other risk factors,
- recommend lifestyle changes to help prevent disease, and
- prescribe screening tests to detect disease early.
What If You Have No Family Health History?
- your lifestyle, personal medical history, and other factors influence your chances of getting a disease;
- you may be unaware of disease in some family members;
- you could have family members who died young, before they had a chance to develop chronic conditions such as Heart Disease , Stroke , Diabetes , orCancer.
Where You Can Find More Information
- CDC’s Family Health History Web site for the Public
- U.S. Surgeon General's Family History Initiative
- National Society for Genetic Counselors