Guess what? The U.S. Surgeon General cares about your family history!
“Health care professionals have known for a long time that common diseases – heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, and rare diseases like hemophilia, cystic fibrosis, and sickle cell anemia – can run in families,” reads www.surgeongeneral.gov. “If one generation of a family has high blood pressure, it is not unusual for the next generation to have similarly high blood pressure.
Tracing the illnesses suffered by parents, grandparents, and other blood relatives can help doctors predict the disorders to which a patient may be at risk, and take action to keep that patient healthy.
“To help focus attention on the importance of family history, the Surgeon General, in cooperation with other agencies with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, has placed a national public health campaign called the Surgeon General’s Family History Initiative, to encourage all American families to learn more about their family health history.
“A recent survey found that 96 percent of Americans believe that knowing their family history is important. Yet, the same survey found that only one-third of Americans have ever tried to gather and write down their family’s health history.”
“Because family health history is such a powerful screening tool, the Surgeon General created a free website to help make it fun and easy for anyone to create a portrait of their family’s health. My Family Health Portrait is a secure online tool that takes about 20 minutes to create a unique family health portrait.
“After users complete several questions, the website creates a personalized ‘family health tree’ that can be saved to a home computer. From there, families may update the information at any time. The tool can be shared with other family members, who can add their health information to the portrait. The portrait also can be an informative tool to share with a health care provider.”
Simply go to www.surgerongeneral.gov and click on ‘initiatives’ to find ‘Family Health History’ in the drop down bar to create a family health portrait – and a healthier future.