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The Importance of Compiling a Family Medical History

The Importance of Compiling a Family Medical History

Remember the last time you were at the doctor and were asked about your family medical history? Did you fumble over answers or shrug off the questions thinking that they weren’t relevant? Well, having a family medical history is actually important to ensure that you stay healthy.

Why do you need a family medical history?

Your medical history can help in many ways. Simply put, half of your genetic profile is inherited from each of your parents. Knowing if certain conditions or genetic anomalies run in your family can help your doctor provide the best care possible. Even slight symptoms can mean something much larger if you have a family history of some conditions. Knowing this information upfront can also ensure that your doctor runs tests that might not be routine, just to check for genetically predisposed conditions. A medical history can also help your doctor assess your risk for diseases, determine what diagnostic tests or images to order, determine how frequently you should be screened for certain conditions, and even assess your risk to pass on certain genetic conditions to your offspring. Providing a family medical history to your physician ensures that they are able to provide the best care possible to you.

What sort of information should be included?

There is a variety of information that should be included when you compile a family medical history. A full history will include at least three generations of family members, and range from grandparents and parents, to uncles, aunts, siblings, cousins, children and nieces or nephews. You will want to know sex, birth dates, ethnicity, any medical conditions and when they were diagnosed, mental health conditions (including alcoholism and substance abuse), and lifestyle habits, such as exercise, diet and tobacco usage. It might also be helpful to provide information about where your family members came from because some conditions occur more frequently in some ethnic groups.

Where do you gather the information?

There are many sources where you can gather information to compile family medical history. One way to do this is to simply question individual family members and keep track of their answers. However, some family members might not remember information, which can make this difficult. It might be wise to work together and have everyone request their own medical records form their past and current physicians so an accurate compilation can be completed.

Do you need help tracking down medical records to compile your family medical history?

It’s always a good idea to compile your family medical history. Even slight symptoms that seem insignificant can trigger certain life-saving diagnostic tests that might not be routine. The issue can be trying to track down medical records that detail this important information. If you are having difficulty finding medical records, you might need to call in the professionals. Order Medical Records has over 30 years of experience in tracking down medical records and we can ensure that you have all the necessary information to complete your family medical history. Orders can be placed right online at our website, Order Medical Records, and our process is simple and easy.

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