A complete family health history is one of the best tools available for recognizing genetic conditions. A family history can help health professionals diagnose a genetic condition, or determine the possibility that one may occur in family members.
Knowing your family health history is important. The Statewide Genetics Services System recommends that all individuals have an updated family history in their medical record. Ask your health care provider if there is one in your medical record.
One way to record your family health history is in a pedigree. This is a detailed chart of your family. If you ever see a Genetic Counselor, he/she will likely make a pedigree. Click here to learn how to document your own family health history with a pedigree.
Tools for Recording Family History:
You can also record your family health history on your own, using these and other tools:
US Surgeon General Family History My Family Health Portrait can help you to gather and examine your family history. This free, web-based tool creates a drawing of your family tree and a chart of your family health history. These can be shared with family members or your health care provider.
CDC Family History Webpage This site provides activities, research and links to all things related to the use of a family history in health and medicine.