Duke Medicine: Thanksgiving a perfect time to share family health history
Along with the turkey and pumpkin pie, Thanksgiving also is a great time to talk with family members about health history.Posted — Updated
It’s well documented that many medical conditions have a strong genetic component. From cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer to mental health conditions, blood-clotting disorders, and cystic fibrosis, a number of diseases can run in families.
The good news is that by creating a record of your family’s health conditions, you can help medical professionals better understand -- and possibly reduce -- the risk that you and your relatives will develop them, too.
This Thanksgiving -- or any occasion that brings relatives together -- take the opportunity to discuss and document your family’s medical history. After all, Thanksgiving is also National Family History Day, as declared by the U.S. Surgeon General in 2004.
Whether your family documents its health history on paper or online, you and your relatives will be taking a proactive step toward keeping healthy.
By sharing your history with your health care providers, you will give them valuable information that may help them make better decisions about your care.
At Duke Medicine, for example, clinicians work to help each patient reduce the odds of disease and improve outcomes by considering his or her unique needs and risks -- including those identified by family history.
A growing array of customized therapies, risk assessment tests, and prevention programs is also offered to provide personalized care for patients with cancer, heart disease, and a range of other conditions.
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