Guest Author - Vannie Ryanes
Do you know your family’s medical history? You can never know too much about your family when it comes to family genetics and disease. Dig deeper than your parent's known history or what is obvious to the eye. Talk to everyone in your family; mom, dad, aunts, uncles, and your grandparents. It may be that the sum of their health, equals yours. Once you have family health information build a diary for yourself and your family. It will be helpful to make copies of this medical history diary for present and future family members.
As far as my family medical history goes, I am a mirror of my mother. It helps me to know that I must watch my blood pressure, that my slight curves can easily turn to fat, and that it is in my best interest not to ignore milk and other calcium building products. I am sure that I take better care of myself because of my mom's illnesses. My aunt, my mom's sister had diabetes; although I do not know which type she had, just knowing that it is in my family is useful.
Of course, it is always important to watch your diet and keep fit. However, we cannot ignore family genetic traits. Knowing the medical history of your family may help to save your life or at least keep you healthier than you would have been without this knowledge.
Start your medical history diary with the information your already have. It is easy to begin with your own history and your spouse's, if you have children or expect to have them. Get to know your mom and dad's medical history, parents often will not tell their children if one parent has a severe medical condition until tragedy hits.
You can also find valuable information in old letters, death certificates, etc. Family gatherings and reunions are a goldmine of information; it is a good time to ask questions and keep your eyes and ears open.
Here is some of the information you should you seek out. You will know what is important when you see or hear it.
_Age at death; cause of death
_Personal habits such as intake of alcohol, smoking, drug use, and general fitness
_Disorders and chronic diseases; high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, depression, cancer, etc.
_Genetic type diseases such as tay-sachs, sickle cell anemia or any disease or disorder that is inherited from a parent.
When you have gathered as much information as you can, put it in a diary, journal or family chart and keep it in a safe place. Make several copies for yourself and your family members. This will be useful to take this information to a new or non-primary physician. Information such as this may save your life or the life of a family member.