The moment one walks into a family practice to set up their health care, they are handed a stack of papers to fill out. Among them is the family history worksheet. Anyone that hasn’t done one of these will be extra thrilled to get it, actually they should be!
While it takes some time, a family health worksheet issued by a family practice can make a huge difference in the level of care that individual receives. Learn more about why this step in the endless pile of paperwork is so very important to keeping oneself healthy and happy.
What is a Family Medical History?
The family medical history paperwork is basically a record of health information concerning the new patient or a family member who is entering a new family practice. It is a complete record from three generations to include parents, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, grandparents, cousins, brothers and sisters as well as children.
The reason it is so important is because families have many health issues in common. Their environment, genes, and lifestyle are typically much alike. Relaying any conditions or disorders may help a family practice determine risk factors for the individual, other members of the family and even future generations. They’ll use this paperwork to look for patterns and see if anyone is at risk when it comes to developing particular conditions.
What Disorders Are Checked For?
When examining the family medical history, people with a larger than normal risk of having common disorders will be analyzed. These include disorders such as:
• Heart disease
• High blood pressure
Lifestyle choices, genetic factors and environmental conditions all play a role in determining what risks are at large. While it may never happen, it’s good to know in order for a family practice doctor to be aware and look out for signs. Conditions such as sickle cell anemia and cystic fibrosis through rare, can be caused by the mutation of only a single gene.
As stated before, having access to family medical history a family practice can help one take steps to reduce his or her risk. There is no guaranteed that anyone will for sure develop the condition of concern.
When it comes to those people who are at an increased risk to develop certain types of cancers, members of a family practice may suggest more frequent screenings. These include such things as colonoscopy or mammography, and more often. In fact, they may suggest the individual get these screenings at an earlier age than one is recommended.
Also, lifestyle changes including getting started on a healthier diet, quitting smoking or other bad habits, and participating in regular exercise will lower chances of getting common illnesses like heart disease or diabetes.
Talk to Relatives
This is the easiest way to collect the necessary information about family medical history. Ask if they’ve had any medical problems, or issues with their health. Find out about when they occurred and what the overall diagnosis was. Having all the family together when this is discussed will make it easier, and filling out that dreaded paperwork will be a cinch.
Another option is to take it with when leaving the family practice. It can always be returned later when it is thoroughly filled out. Medical records as well as other documents like death certificates or obituaries are great for adding to the history records. Keep all the info up-to-date, that way of it’s necessary to choose a different family practice or see a specialist it’s readily available so one is ready to receive the best health care possible at all times.