Get to know your close relatives even better this season. It could change your life.
When you celebrate Thanksgiving this year, take a moment to talk about something you don’t usually: your family’s health history. If you’re adopted, this may not be available to you. If your blood relatives are near you though, it could be worth the chat.
By knowing your potentially inherited health history, you can prepare to live in a preventive way. Does high blood pressure or diabetes run in your family? It may sound like surface advice, but there’s something to be said for cutting the salt and sugar.
According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, there are certain key features that can increase your risk of falling ill including:
- Certain combinations of diseases within a family
- Diseases that occur at an earlier than expected age
- Disease in more than one close relative
- Disease that does not typically affect a specific gender (for example, breast cancer in a male)
Who counts? Anyone related to you by blood, including your parents, children, brothers and sisters, grandparents, aunts and uncles.
Sit down and share information about birth defects, childhood health problems, ages and causes of death, and information on adult diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, cancer and arthritis.
Pass the information onto your healthcare provider, and consider writing it down for future reference. For further tips and resources, click here.