It’s important to know your health heritage. Genetics can inform your doctors, including your OBGYN, about potential risks you could experience in the future.
Common diseases like heart disease, cancer and diabetes, along with rare diseases like hemophilia, cystic fibrosis and sickle cell anemia can run in families and be detected through genetics.
Your health heritage is so important that the United States Surgeon General has started a Family Health History Initiative that encourages all Americans to learn more about which diseases, if any, have persisted in their families.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has put together an online guide to help you collect and research information about your health heritage. Online tools include tips to get you started and a “My Family Health Portrait Tool” that allows you to:
- Enter your family health history
- Learn about your risk for conditions that can run in families
- Print your family health history to share with family or your health care provider
- Save your family health history so you can update it over time
This tool can be shared with your OBGYN or general practitioner to detect any warning signs and be helpful in prevention or early detection.
Learn more about the importance of you health heritage by visiting https://www.hhs.gov/programs/prevention-and-wellness/family-health-history/index.html.