The Friday Five – National Family Health History Day 2019
National Family Health History Day has been recognized since 2004 during the month of November and is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. National Family Health History Day is celebrated on Thanksgiving. Over this holiday when families gather, the Surgeon General (@) encourages them to discuss and record the health problems that run in their family. Sharing your family’s health history with your doctor provides an invaluable tool for your health care. This week’s Friday Five takes a look at all of the resources and tools offered by CDC to help collect and organize the health information collected on this day.
Family Health History: The Basics
CDC explains what family health history is, why it’s important and how it can be used to benefit a family’s collective health.
How to Collect Your Family Health History
Whether you know a lot about your family health history or only a little, take time to talk to your family about their health histories at family gatherings this holiday season. It might not be easy. Your family members might not be used to talking about their diseases or might not want to talk. But starting the conversation is important. Remember, you’re asking not just for your own health, but for the health of everyone in your family. CDC offers some steps to help you start to collect the necessary information.
My Family Health Portrait Online Tool
The Surgeon General’s “My Family Health Portrait” is an internet-based tool that makes it easy for you to record your family health history. The tool is easy to access on the web and simple to fill out. It assembles your information and makes a “pedigree” family tree that you can download. It is private–it does not keep your information. It gives you a health history that you can share with family members or send to your health care practitioner.
The tool allows you to:
- Enter your family health history
- Learn about your risk for conditions that can run in families
- Print your family health history to share with family or your health care provider
- Save your family health history so you can update it over time
A PDF version of the tool is also available in English and Spanish if you prefer to gather and record your family history by hand.
Family Health History and Chronic Disease
If you have a family health history of a chronic disease like cancer, heart disease, diabetes, or osteoporosis, you are more likely to get that disease yourself. Share your family health history with your doctor, who can help you take steps to prevent disease and catch it early if it develops. Refer to this resource from CDC to find out more about what having a family health history of certain conditions means for you. Additionally, CDC recommends A Family Health History Tool from Genetic Alliance which helps users create personalized booklets to start conversations about health in your family and community.
Family Health History and Your Child
You might not realize that your mother’s diabetes or your cousin’s sickle cell disease could affect your child, but collecting your family history information can be important for keeping your child healthy. Take advantage of the CDC’s resource, Family Health History Checklist: Your Child.
More information on the Surgeon General’s My Family Health Portrait is available at the Surgeon General’s My Family Health History Initiative webpage.
Have a safe and happy holiday from all of us at Answers Media Network.