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Family History – It’s More Predictive Than You Might Expect

Last week I took this photo of Logan and at five months old, I can already see dramatic changes in his appearance, his awareness of the world around him, and his responses to people and things…it’s amazing how quickly babies change. Along those same lines, I’m similarly amazed how much change occurs in adults’ emotional/mental/physical health as well.

Time never stands still. Whether a person is five months, five years, or fifty, our bodies are always adapting to the what we put in them and what we put them through.

One of the most proactive steps we can take to stay our healthy best is to know our family history (and pass along that information) to our family and our physicians.

As I age, I want to be sure I’m considering my parents’ health history and making wise choices for my health (with theirs in mind). I also want to be careful to pass on possible problematic areas of concern to my own kids (so they will grow up and stay strong too).

For some “vital stats” on why family history matters…read Dr. Foetisch’s comments on the subject from his perspective as a physician.

Family History – It’s More Predictive Than You Might Expect

Top health-related reasons it’s essential to know and understand the physical history of your immediate and extended family members. Even when we might fear the worst, knowing is best.

· While risk factors for disease can be attributed to numerous factors such as age, nutrition, and environmental exposure; genetics, or family history, is likely the most compelling factor for risk of disease.

· Knowing your family history can provide valuable information for your physician. Certain cancers and medical problems require routine screening per recommended guidelines that are often accelerated for certain medical problems based on family history.

· To the patient, this means that those individuals with a strong family history often require earlier or more frequent screening. Family history of colon cancer is one such disease. If early screening is instituted, it may allow diagnosis and treatment of a condition when it as at an earlier, more treatable stage.

· Important: knowledge of family medical history can assist your physician in making a diagnosis that may not otherwise be considered. Therefore, whenever possible it is valuable to document the medical problems of your parents and siblings and take this information to your physician.

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