PatientsLikeMe believes in the benefits of openly sharing health information. That is why we are happy to spread the word about National Family History Day, which had its fifth anniversary on Thanksgiving 2008.
As families gather this holiday weekend, National Family History Day encourages families to become familiar with the health history of previous generations. At PatientsLikeMe, we encourage everyone to take advantage of the family time to identify, discuss, and make a written record of family health problems. Many health disorders such as ALS, Parkinson’s, Multiple Sclerosis, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes, run in families and across generations. Knowing your family history gives insight into your current health status, and lifestyles and environmental factors that may affect your disease risk.
While there is talk of personalized medicine being on the horizon, collecting and interpreting family history information is a currently available, and practical personalized health tool. Health care professionals can use this valuable information to design individualized care programs to reduce risk of disease and promote overall health.
So while you’re eating that feast and the leftovers this weekend, ask your family about their health history. It’s good conversation and can help everyone. Happy National Family History Day!