Taking a Good Family History Made Easy

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Families. Click to visit My Family Health Portrait website. A tool from the Surgeon General. My Family Health Portrait is the Web-based tool from NHGRI and the U.S. Surgeon General’s Family History Initiative that helps you create your own family health history. Using any computer, an Internet connection and an up-to-date Web browser, you provide your health information to build a drawing of your family tree and a chart of your family health history. Both the chart and the drawing can be printed and shared with your family members and your doctor.

Tracing the illnesses suffered by your parents, grandparents and other blood relatives can help your doctor predict the disorders to which you may be at risk, and help you take action to keep you and your family healthy.

Free Genetic Testing

There is a genetic test that is pretty good at predicting some degree of one’s individual susceptibility. It’s a genetic test that is free, and we don’t use it very effectively. That’s your family medical history. How many of us, or indeed any health care practitioner, really takes a great and etailed family meical history. So many times practitioners ask a few subjective questions and may then simply make a note that it appears non relevant or, “non-contributory.”

I would suggest that rarely is the family history non-contributory unless this is somebody who is adopted and has no information about any of their blood relatives, because there are clues and we should be using those more effectively. Part of the problem is that taking a family history takes time, and often the patient doesn’t quite recall the details of what happened to aunts and uncles and so on.

There is a tool, which I think many hundreds of thousands of people have used, that the Surgeon General has put up on her department’s Website. If you click on this link “surgeon general family history,” it’ll take you to that tool. This is something for patients or clients to  enter information about their own family members as far as their medical experiences. It ends up getting put into this software and then gets printed out as a standard format.

That gives the patient or client the chance to do all of the time-consuming work of getting the information. This saves time in clinic, but also lets you really examine the history in a quick and self reported manner that may well mean that you make better and more informed recommendations concerning prevention strategies.

I recommend you look it over and consider adding the link to your welcome to my clinic pack.

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