Near the dawn of the 21st century, it was discovered that 96 percent of Americans believed that it was of utmost importance to know their families’ medical history, but only one-third of those surveyed took it upon themselves to compile this information. So, in 2004, United States Surgeon General Richard Carmona declared National Family Health History Day to coincide with Thanksgiving, which falls on the fourth Thursday in November. The purpose of declaring this new holiday was to stress family medical history importance and to encourage families to discuss and account for whatever health problems recur among members of the family.
People within any given family share numerous things in common, particularly their genetic makeup, their environment, their lifestyle, and personal habits, all of which can provide clues as to which medical conditions appear among members of the family. Therefore, a family’s knowledge of its personal medical history is of great importance for a pair of very good reasons. If there is a strong trait of allergy symptoms or asthma in a family, the physicians and specialists at Asthma and Allergy Associates need to know these facts for better diagnosis. For example, it makes it easier for the doctor to make a more precise and accurate diagnosis of certain diseases or allergies. Moreover, a number of common ailments such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes and less frequent illnesses such as hemophilia, sickle-cell anemia and cystic fibrosis all tend to be passed down through generations, so if the genes for a particular malady are present, it is not out of the question for people among subsequent generations to become afflicted. Allergies, of course, aren’t as life threatening or severe as say heart disease, but medical history for such ailments are important to us at AACOS.
On the other hand, it is just as good an idea for doctors and patients alike to look retrospectively at the health statistics of previous generations within a family. Observing these patterns and tracing the illnesses suffered by parents, grandparents, great-grandparents and other blood relatives is helpful in that it can enable both the doctor and his or her patients to anticipate potential health problems and take the appropriate steps to prevent the occurrence of these issues. For example, if a person learns that he or she has a family history of heart disease and/or diabetes, this person’s doctor will likely advise him or her to practice healthier eating habits, such as staying on top of a regular exercise regimen and avoiding foods that have exorbitant fat, sugar and salt content. This is a typical diagnosis procedure for allergy and asthma specialists. However, without knowledge of such statistics, preventive diagnoses are impossible to make.
To obtain a comprehensive picture of a family’s medical history, everybody in the family should gather together and strike up a discussion about medical history importance. Essential questions should be asked about chronic and recurring ailments, particularly as to which ones people have endured and when the illnesses occurred. Be sure to inform your own children of their health issues and history so ailments are never forgotten or passed over by mistake. Symptoms like allergies and asthma do come sudden at times so when seeing a specialist for treatment, like the doctors at the Asthma and Allergy Associates in Colorado Springs, those medical history facts are on the top of your head and easily repeatable to your doctor. In addition, obtaining medical records can be particularly helpful, especially if the file containing this information is kept as up-to-date as possible. There are also numerous tools for documenting a family’s health history that can be found online. If you need help with your family’s medical history or think you may have breathing problems or food allergies just like some of your other family members, give the wonderful staff at AACOS a call today to book an appointment and get your facts straight. They are here for you!