If you’re like most families, the annual Thanksgiving feast is just the start of many family gatherings this holiday season. Health officials say this is the perfect time to ask those hard health history questions.
"By having a good family health history and giving it to your physician, they can look at it and see the patterns run in your family," said State department of health program representative Julie Raburn. "Then they can take decide what tests need to be ordered, more likely, what is the appropriate test to be ordering to make sure to find out if have this particular disorder or if you have high cholesterol or you don’t. Those kinds of things."
The are ways to get health information without offending anyone. Start with asking about traits that run in the family. Other questions:
- Did our family members have any health problems?
- How old were our family members when their health problems started or were diagnosed?
- How old were our family members when they died?
- What were the reasons they died?
- Were there any pregnancy losses or babies born with birth defects?
- Where were my family members born? (Ethnicity can be a risk factor for some health problems.)
- Did any of my family members smoke. If yes, how much and for how long?
- What other life style habits did our family members have?
- Did they exercise regularly?
- Were any relatives overweight or extremely thin?
- Did any have "addictive" behaviors?
- What types of allergies run in our family? Hay fever, asthma, food or medication allergies.
Don’t push if someone does not seem open to your questions. Raburn said there are other options.
"You could ask maybe other family members other aunts or uncles what they know about it," She said. "You can also do some background checking you can go through some family records perhaps maybe there are some old medial bills lying around maybe there’s some obituaries that you could find."
It’s best to get details going back three generations.