One of the main risk factors for chronic disease is genetics. If someone in your family has a chronic disease, you may also have that gene that pre-disposes you to be at risk for a certain disease. It’s important to track your family’s health history before you start experience symptoms of the disease, especially if you want to know what specific steps you can take to prevent a disease that runs in the family. This Family Health Portrait, made available by the Surgeon General, is one of many different health history tools found on the internet. It only takes a few minutes to fill out, but can analyze what diseases you may be at risk for. This is what your health history chart will look like:
It’s not too complicated or time-consuming to fill out, and once you know what diseases you may be at risk for, you can talk to your doctor about lifestyle changes that may allow you to completely avoid getting a chronic disease. This article, from the Canadian Medical Association Journal, tells how to use your Health History sheet to improve your ability to fight chronic disease before it starts damaging your body. Once you complete a Family Health History chart, it’s important to share what you’ve found with your other family members so that they are also aware of healths problems they could face in the future if they don’t take steps to prevent them now.