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Ever notice every time you go to see a doctor, you’re tasked with filling out a bunch of forms about not only your health, but also your family’s health? There’s a good reason for that. Knowing the medical history of your family can improve the quality of your care.

To ensure you and your loved ones are communicating about various medical conditions that may run the family, healthcare professionals have developed National Family Health History Day. Coincidentally, this event lands on Thanksgiving Day. The idea is that while you are gathering with family to count your blessings and enjoy your turkey dinner, it’s a perfect opportunity to compare notes and discuss family health issues.

Some of the topics you should discuss include:

  • First-, second-, and third-degree relatives
  • Age for all relatives (age at time of death for the deceased)
  • Ethnicity (some genetic diseases are more common in certain ethnic groups)
  • Presence of chronic diseases

Once you’ve gathered the info, you can store it using a free software for your family’s health history, created by the Surgeon General’s office, called “My Family Health Portrait.” It’s easy to complete and make accessible to family members and your healthcare team.

Family Health = Your Health

This is important because knowing what diseases or health conditions family members may have directly connects you to being susceptible to those ailments. As the CDC describes it, since your family shares similar genes, there is a greater likelihood that you may be predisposed to certain genetic conditions. You may also have behaviors in common, such as exercise habits and food preferences. Perhaps you live in the same area and encounter similar environmental issues. Family history includes all these factors, any of which can affect your health.

See Your Board-Certified Doctor

Understanding your family’s health risks will make the questions from the doctor a whole lot easier. If you are choosing a new physician or have a trusted practitioner, many people like to know if the doctor is board-certified.

Doctors are required to have a state medical license to practice medicine. But, according to the National Institutes of Health, board certification is a higher standard that doctors may choose as an extra step, demonstrating their mastery. Board-certified doctors demonstrate their desire to practice at the top of their profession and deliver high-quality care to their patients. About 87% of American physicians are certified.

Knowledge is Power

On your next trip to the doctor, you can understand why it’s essential for your physician to have an up-to-date patient health history. It means there are essentially more tools in the toolbox at their disposal to identify your risk factors for certain diseases and take preventative measures to reduce that risk. By being aware of early warning signs you can make the necessary lifestyle changes.

Doctors are especially zeroing in on diseases like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and cancer. If you have a family member with a chronic disease, you may be more likely to develop the disease. If there is a history of heart disease in your family, for example, your physician will encourage you to avoid risk factors like smoking, obesity, high blood pressure, and a poor diet. Plus, keeping it on the radar through medical testing like preventative screenings could detect an issue and catch it early — giving you a better chance of living longer, with quality of life. Your doctor may routinely check blood pressure and do medical tests like cholesterol screenings and blood glucose testing.

Medical Testing to Improve Your Health

At Any Lab Test Now®, you can take the lead with your health and wellness by having these medical tests done on your own. You have direct access to thousands of lab tests that can screen for issues relating to family history. Like the CBC Panel, which provides a snapshot of your health, and the Comprehensive Metabolic Panel which gives a clear picture of your overall health. Plus, you could include the Lipid Panel to determine if you are at risk for heart disease.

Additionally, the Healthy Weight DNA Test is a scientifically-based weight-management test and program that identifies your unique genetic makeup and provides diet and exercise strategies specifically tailored to your genotype. Any Lab Test Now® examines your DNA and analyzes various genetic markers that are known to be associated with your weight, metabolism, and body type. These are the basic tests everyone needs because they provide conclusive answers about your health.

The benefit of using Any Lab Test Now® as your family’s health center is that you own the test results and may choose to use the results in the manner of your choosing. Perhaps you will share with your family to shed light on family health history.

As you prepare to visit your family this holiday season, don’t forget Any Lab Test Now® can help keep your family gatherings safe by providing COVID-19 testing.

Call now to schedule an appointment for any of these tests at a location near you.