Get to Know Your Family Health History

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Published on November 25, 2020

Get to Know Your Family Health History

Photo of a father and daughter making a family treeThanksgiving is a special day as it jump starts the holiday season with family, and it’s also conveniently National Family Health History Day. It’s the perfect time to get connected with family and learn about their health history—even if it’s just through FaceTime.  

“Oftentimes we prioritize our health on an as-needed basis instead of planning ahead. Taking the steps to understand your family health history can help prevent diseases or find them early enough for treatment,” says Trevor Brodsky-Brooks MD, PIH Health Family Medicine physician.

Family Health History and Chronic Disease

Did you know you are more likely to get a disease if other people in your family had or have the disease? Even if you don’t have a parent or sibling with a chronic disease, it can still affect you, however this doesn’t mean you will definitely get it. Understanding your family health history can only help you if you act on it. While it may not be easy to have these conversations with family members, starting the discussion is important. Remind them that you’re asking not only for your own health, but for the health of your entire family.

Taking the Steps to Collect Your Family Health History

  1. Talk to your family and ask questions to understand your risk for chronic diseases.
  2. Record the data and continue updating it as you learn new family health history information.
  3. Share the information you learned with your doctor and other family members.

Once you understand your family health history, you can get preventative screenings and take other steps to lower your chances of developing common diseases. You may not be able to change the history of your family’s health, but you can change any unhealthy habits.

Talk to your family and schedule an appointment with your doctor to discuss any concerns, visit

The information in Healthy Living Online is for educational purposes only.  It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice.  The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation, or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan.