Tuesday, November 28, 2006

With family handy, bring up health

…Family reunion? Holiday gathering? Now is the time to question your relatives about their health issues.

…How well do you know your folks?

…To help you make this nosiness “official,” the Surgeon General has created a website called My Family Health Portrait.

…Check it out at http://familyhistory.hhs.gov.

…According to Lynda Shrager, writing in the Albany Times Union, you need to know things like a history of diabetes, migraines, breast and colon cancer and arthritis. Rarities like Huntington’s or Parkinson’s may be in your family but not often mentioned.

…Find out the ages at which family members were stricken. You may know Grandma died of cancer, but what kind? And how old was she?

…Even dementia and Alzheimers can have a genetic thread.

…HA has been having trouble with one of her eyes and remembered her father had had a detached retina repaired. Her sister said, “Really? I never knew that.”

…You might find out more than you bargained for, such as multiple miscarriages your mother never mentioned before or some other uncomfortable health fact, but it pays to ask.

…Then you can worry better.

…HA likes to worry. She is very good at it, if she does say so herself.

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