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# Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Time to Talk About Your Family Health History
Posted by Diane

For the past several years around this time, the Surgeon General has urged Americans to use holiday gatherings as an opportunity to talk about health history.

It’s not to make you feel guilty about that extra piece of pecan pie. It’s because your ancestors’ medical conditions may have a genetic component. So maybe you can improve your health outlook by changing a few habits—or at least you’ll know what to watch out for.

While Great-uncle Hector’s intestinal blockage might not be the best dinner-table conversation, we encourage you to gently ask about family members’ illnesses and causes of death when your family gets together.

You can record what you learn using the Surgeon General’s My Family Health Portrait online tool, then print a chart to show your doctor.

Other ways to gather famliy health history:
  • You may find clues about illnesses in journals and letters—health was a major topic of discussion for our ancestors.
If you find yourself wondering what a record means by “podagra,” consult the archaic disease dictionary at Antiquus Morbus (it’s a term for gout in the joints of the foot.)

See FamilyTreeMagazine.com for more resources on researching health history.


Research Tips | Vital Records
Wednesday, November 19, 2008 3:35:28 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
Friday, December 26, 2008 1:42:42 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
Great article. You may be interested to know there is a new family health history website called ItRunsInMyFamily.com that helps people create their family pedigree and then enter in diseases that run in their family. The web tool is free and open to the public. I encourage you to check it out and to tell others about this new family health history tool. Thanks!
Comments are closed.