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How a family tree can save your life

Interesting news recently about how a family tree can save your life. According to new research, looking at your family health history is your best bet at predicting what illnesses you and your children may face.

The recent study, carried out by researchers at Ohio’s Cleveland Clinic Genomic Medicine Institute, found that family health histories are the ‘best kept secret in healthcare’.

It looks like your grandparents were right! Whatever they suffered from, it looks like you could too. It certainly saves on any costly genetic testing doesn’t it!

But all this begs the question – if our grandparents were right and they’ve only just discovered this information now – why aren’t GPs doing more to consider family history? Yes, they may ask very basic questions about our families but shouldn’t doctors be taking a more accurate record of our past?

Family health histories are certainly the cheapest and most effective way of predicting what could happen to our own health. But it’s important to include both sides of the family – if they’re going to get it right.

My advice? Talk to your grandparents and parents and even consider noting down any family illnesses or disease. Might seem a bit of a morbid addition to your family tree, but wouldn’t you want your descendants to be fully warned and therefore prepared?

Making a family health history is simply a case of starting with your own health and then talking to parents, children, grandparents, aunts and uncles… even cousins.
Ask all the right questions like what exactly people have suffered from and at what age the condition or ailment started. Include lifestyle information as well, i.e. did your relatives smoke or drink? Did they take regular exercise?

And then update your family history whenever new information becomes available. Do all this and you’ll be protecting your family and future generations.

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