Celebrate this Thanksgiving by talking with your family about their health! This Thanksgiving marks the 12th year since the U.S. Surgeon General elected to make Thanksgiving National Family History Day. If you want to take charge of your health, and help your doctor predict illnesses you may be at risk for, spend time learning about your family’s history.
GET THE CONVERSATION STARTED
Make a list of all your blood relatives, including parents, brothers, sisters and your children. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews can be on the list, too. If you happen to see them over the holidays, it could be a good time to talk with them one-on-one about your family’s health history.
PREPARE YOUR QUESTIONS
Key questions to ask your family members can range anywhere from heart health to diabetes issues. Your list can include:
* Do you have any chronic illnesses, such as heart disease, high blood pressure or diabetes?
* Have you had any serious illnesses, such as cancer or a stroke?
* How old were you when these illnesses developed?
* Have you or your partner had any difficulties with pregnancies?
* What medications do you take?
FIND A GOOD TIME TO TALK
Speaking with family members in a relaxed setting will be helpful. When discussing health issues, be gentle and explain why you are asking them questions—that you care about your health and theirs. Keep your questions short and to the point. Your fact-finding mission could help improve your family’s health and create a legacy for a future of well-being for all!