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Carrying the Past Forward

As another year ends and a new one begins, many of you are probably feeling the same thing I am: “time flies”!  Although growing older usually means growing wiser, it’s also true that some memories fade with time.  What does this have to do with healthcare?  Well, some of those fading memories are about our  medical problems and our family members medical problems.  In fact when I am talking with a patient about his or her family health history, it’s very common for me to hear “I’m not really sure.”  But with our advancing understanding of the genetic basis of many diseases, family history can be a powerful tool for looking at our risk of developing those diseases.  To help you keep track of your family history, check out this free resource from the Surgeon General at My Family Health Portrait.  You can have family members contribute, and you can print out a family health tree for your physician.

Family History, Genetics