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​How Knowing Your Family Medical History Can Change Your Life​

July 20th, 2016 | 2 min. read

By PartnerMD


When speaking to a physician about your health, patients tend to focus on their personal current and past conditions. But knowing your family’s medical history and understanding the role it plays in your own health is critical, especially when it comes to prevention.

Your family history can identify health complications you may be prone to because of genetics. Having this information allows your physician to tailor your nutrition, exercise and lifestyle recommendations to help prevent these issues from arising.

Ready to take a proactive approach to your health? Discuss your family health history with a PartnerMD physician today.

Here are some factors your physician may consider in regards to your family's health history and how the findings can be used to optimize your health:

Use Family Medical History for Disease Prevention

There are several common health issues and diseases you can take precautions to avoid if they are present in your family history. Some of these issues include:

  • Many types of cancer such as colon, lung and breast cancer
  • Mental health issues such as depression and anxiety
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease

Discovering any of these illnesses in your family history should not be an automatic cause for concern. However, having this information taken into consideration can help you make smarter choices about your lifestyle, like smoking or alcohol consumption.

Read More: Give a Gift of Love: A Preventative Care Checkup

Health and Lifestyle Areas to Consider to Prevent Illness

Your physician will want to learn about your family’s history of illnesses. Below are some diseases your physician may ask about and the family member whose health history is particularly relevant:

  • Both parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles: heart disease, stroke, diabetes, thyroid problems, auto-immune problems including rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, sudden cardiac death
  • Mother: breast cancer, ovarian cancer
  • Father: prostate cancer
  • Both parents: colon cancer, colon polyps, melanoma

Your physician should also ask about your family’s lifestyle habits which could potentially impact your health risk factors. Here are a few questions you may be asked:

While growing up, did you:

  • Eat a lot of fast food?
  • Eat a heavy amount of red meat?
  • Have a lack of exercise?
  • Drink soda with sugar regularly?
  • Spend time in the sun without using sunscreen?
  • Spend time around others who smoked?

Watch: Preventative Health Care: How You Can Live a Healthier Life

Develop a Preventative Health Care Plan Based on Family Medical History

Understanding your family’s health and lifestyle history will guide your physician toward a preventative health care plan that’s customized to help you avoid disease or detect it as early as possible. There are plenty of ways your physician can customize your care with your family history.

Here are a few examples:

  • Scheduling breast cancer screenings earlier in life and more frequently if one of your immediate family members has a history of breast cancer
  • Ordering a chest X-ray to check for nodules if you were raised in a home where others smoked
  • If your family has a history of diabetes, recommending precautionary changes to your diet, exercise and lifestyle to help you avoid the disease.

Benefit from Concierge Medicine for In-Depth Health Support

Combining the knowledge of your family health history with the care and attention of concierge medicine can help you maximize your health.

Within the concierge care model, your physician has time to deeply examine your family health history to make lifestyle recommendations that can decrease your risk of developing hereditary diseases.

Taking a preventative approach based on your family health history might feel daunting, but the concierge medicine model gives you the necessary resources to take on the challenge with ease. You’ll have the support of a wellness team partnering with your physician to help implement any necessary changes. These efforts result in a customized approach that will keep you as healthy as possible for as long as possible.

It's crucial to understand your risk factors in order to maximize your health. If you want to take a more proactive approach to your health and discuss your family health history with a physician, contact PartnerMD today.

Learn more about how concierge medicine focuses on preventative care and how you can maximize your health:


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