Family Health History
Importance of Family Health History.
Because families share many of the same environmental and genetic influences, collecting and documenting your family health history is a free, quick, easy, and powerful way of learning more about your health.
Your Health Pedigree
Your family health history can be represented by a diagram called a ‘pedigree.’ A pedigree uses symbols and lines to represent family members and relationships. A trained healthcare professional can quickly use a pedigree to identify inheritance patterns and calculate your risk for a specific disease.
How do I collect information?
Talk to your family.
Take time to talk to your family about their health. This can be done on the phone, email, or by letter. The more information you can gain from your family members, the more accurate your health assessment can be.
Once you learn about your family’s health, record and organize the information. There are good resources available to help record your family history, https://familyhistory.hhs.gov/ and others.
Share with your doctor.
It is important that your doctor is aware of your family health history. During every visit, share updates on your family health history with your doctor.
Your healthcare professional or a genetics expert can review your family health risks and determine if genetic counseling is appropriate for you.
Read more about genetic counseling