Monday, April 16, 2012

Summer meetups time to do a health tree


As you travel around seeing relatives, it’s a good time to ask about health traits within the family.

Sort of a health family tree—to put a positive spin on it.

This was the subject of a piece in USA Today Weekend, April 14-15, 2012.

Family members, this piece said, not only share genes, but may also share food preferences and lifestyle.

Some say the family history is a better indicator than genetic testing.

The problem is that family members may not report their health problems accurately.

But you can try. First, make a list of your relatives—three generations, if you can. Start with parents, sibs and kids. Then grandparents, aunts and uncles. And finally, nieces, nephews and grandchildren…after that, first cousins.

Make up your questions. Ask about everything from heart disease, diabetes, dementia, and Partkinson's to pregnancy complications. Get the cause and age of death of people who have died. Include lifestyle info if you can—diet, exercise, alcohol, smoking.

Keep your records up to date.

For more info—check out cdc.gov/genomics/famhistory.

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