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There are many great benefits from learning about where you came from. It is fun and exciting to learn about the cultures and places that make you who you are. Many years ago, family history could determine your wealth, social status, and even occupation. Although we are lucky enough to have moved past those dark times, there are many other reasons to be aware and to keep track of your family history. Family history can actually tell you a lot about your health, help you maintain your wellness, and continue to keep your family safe for years to come.

November 24th was declared “National Family History Day” by the U.S. Surgeon General back in 2004. It is not a coincidence that National Family History Day shares a date with Thanksgiving. Family health history is an important part of routine medical care and the family aspect already surrounding Thanksgiving made it a natural choice. So before you join your family for your annual turkey meal, do some research. Get to know your family history further in depth. Keep in mind that health facts such as height, weight, diseases, allergies, and causes of death are some of the most important and useful pieces of information you could gather.

Talk Health History” is a campaign sponsored by the American Society of Human Genetics and provides plenty of information for not only the importance of knowing your family health history, but also methods of finding it. According to the campaign, creating a family tree of health history gives patients the ability to present facts to their doctors so that they can better predict disease risks and make appropriate health care decisions that will benefit the patient.

There are plenty of tools available online for tracking family health history and making family trees. One great site is My Family Health Portrait. This site keeps your information completely private and allows you to track the most important factors of your health history such as history of disease, allergies, and even adoption.

By gathering as much information about your family history as you can before your Thanksgiving extravaganza, you will be able to determine what blanks you have to fill in and use the time you have around your family to pick their brains as well. Some of your family members might have a great wealth of knowledge when it comes to your family tree that you are unaware of.

Here are some questions you could ask family members about themselves or others to try and gather some more information regarding your health history:

  • How am I related to this family member?
  • Where is this family member from?
  • Are they living or deceased?
  • How was their general health?
  • What was their occupation?
  • Were they married?
  • Did they have any children?
  • What was their height and weight?
  • What caused them to pass away?

This could not only lead to some fascinating discoveries about your own self and your family, it could also help you learn about what health risks you may be in danger of. Health issues such as cancer and serious diseases are a big deal to physicians and it is important that you are able to communicate with them regarding anything serious.

Whether your family history contains health issues or not, it is still fascinating to learn more about where your family came from and what kind of lives they lived. Going on this personal discovery may put things in a different perspective for you and give you more explanations than you may expect. Take some time out of your day and gather the information. Doing so may set up younger family members for success when it comes to knowing family health history when it really counts. The sooner you start, the easier it is to document who you are and where you came from. This year, celebrate National Family History Day as well as Thanksgiving. And give thanks to your family health!

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