I saw this last night on MyHeritage – Family Health History – Why the Past and Present is Important to your Future – MyHeritage December 8, 2019: https://blog.myheritage.com/2019/12/family-health-history-why-the-past-and-present-is-important-to-your-future/.
by Jessica Greenwood, MS, LGC December 8, 2019
The holidays are a time to gather with family, tell stories, reminisce, and remember. This spirit of sharing makes it an opportune time to talk about your family’s ethnic origins and how relatives are connected. You may wish to start creating your family tree while you have access to relatives you don’t see often that can answer your questions. The holidays are also a valuable opportunity to talk about your family’s health history, both past and present, to help inform your personal health in the future.
What role does family health history play?
Similar to our heritage, the origins of our health story are established by the generations that came before us. This health story is unique to each individual. It begins even before you were conceived and is influenced by multiple components that set the stage for your personal health, both now and in the future. These factors include the following:
- Location – Where your family lives can influence things like exposure to environmental agents, access to medical care, etc.
- Environment and lifestyle – The eating and exercise habits of your relatives, particularly those of your immediate family, have been shown to have a significant impact on your own habits as adults. In addition to food consumption, whether or not your relatives smoke or drink can also influence your behaviors with those substances.
- Ethnicity – People of certain ethnic backgrounds are more likely to be a carrier for specific genetic diseases.
- Genetics – The DNA that is passed down from generation to generation within a family can control whether or not we inherit certain traits, diseases, or even the predisposition to develop a disease.