December 5, 2014

Collect Family Health History

As important as family health history is, I still do not understand why the Health and Human Services Department and the Acting Surgeon General Boris D. Lushniak, MD has to wait until just before Thanksgiving to make their announcement. Yes, last Thanksgiving was the eleventh annual Family Health History Day. Over the holiday or at other times when families gather, Americans are encouraged to talk about and keep a record of the health problems that seem to run in their families.

Because this blog is about diabetes, and too often families want to keep this a secret, this is even more important to talk about this. This was driven home in April this year when after an intervention with James, he discovered that diabetes was in his family history. He was not aware of this. In talks with him later, he said this was probably why he had probably been too heavy into denial and why it was difficult for him to accept that he had diabetes.

This is a reminder for everyone to ask firmly, other family members what is in their health history that could be important to other family members. I know what this was like as my mother's family had the secrecy. If it had not been for my father, I may have never known about diabetes being in my family. Granted, two of mother's sisters did confirm this several years later when I asked, but they did not offer the information.

I would say that you should ask for anything that might be in the family medical history as this could be important in the future and if a doctor knows your family history, it could quite possibly save your life. I was fortunate that I did not have to ask too forcefully, but I know a few friends that had problems obtaining medical history from their families. One of them had recently been diagnosed with a rare disease and he had no medical history for either side of the family. Finally after telling an uncle on his father's side about what he had and why he was asking, he was able to get a complete history.

When he gave the history to his doctor, his doctor said he had one test to do and if he was right, he would have a corrected diagnosis in a week. When he heard from the doctor, it was a corrected diagnosis and not a rare disease, but a fairly common one that was related.

I have not used the link provided, but I give it to you for your consideration.

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