(847) 854-4333

Family Health History

By: Rachel DeGrane

Anytime you go to a doctor’s appointment they hand you this large packet to fill out asking about your health history and your family’s health history. I know for me, I always ask myself, “Why is this even important?” or “How am I supposed to know this?”

The reason family health histories are so important is because it gives the doctors an idea of what illnesses a person may be at risk for. To be exact, a family health history should include three generations with information from siblings, parents, aunts, uncles, and grandparents.

When gathering family health history information keep these 3 things in mind:

  • Ask about major diagnoses such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease, etc.
  • If the family member is deceased, find out if their cause of death was related to a medical issue
  • For each problem, ask at what age the family member was diagnosed

Now that is a lot of information to keep straight. I recommend writing down any severe medical problems that your family members have. Not only so you can easily access it when filling out paper work at the doctor’s office, but also if there were ever a medical emergency you can provide the doctors with that information so they know how to best treat your family member.

While at times it may seem like knowing your family’s medical health history is over rated, when it comes down to it, knowing this information can help doctors know how to best treat you. It could even save a life!