Ear infections are a common malady affecting children as they grow. These infections are typically…
One of the most difficult forms to fill out when you visit your doctor is your Family Medical History form. Often we simply don’t know the intimate details of our loved ones’ health history. Yet identifying not just your own previous medical diagnoses but the disorders and diseases which have occurred in other members of your family can be the first line of defense in keeping you healthy.
What is a Family Medical History?
A Family Medical History is a genealogical record of health information concerning common medical conditions. A typical Family Medical History form will ask about chronic diseases such as emphysema and COPD. It may also ask you to identify symptoms such as throat pain or difficulty in breathing which often point to undiagnosed illnesses. The information in the form covers not only your own personal medical history, but that of your closest genetic relatives: your parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, and your own children as well.
What is a Family History used for?
Documenting your family’s medical background provides a tool your physician can use to identify genetic dispositions toward certain common disorders. This record also allows you to specifically pinpoint ear, nose and throat concerns which can be vital to a proper diagnosis. With it your physician can determine the possibility of your developing hearing or dental problems, or eye diseases such as glaucoma. Because families tend to have similar eating habits and environments, certain medical conditions often crop up among close relatives.
By analyzing your Family Medical History, your health provider obtains a snapshot not just of hereditary diseases, but dietary and environmental issues. This not only results in an earlier diagnosis of problems, it can help prevent a misdiagnosis by directing attention from the onset to the most likely causes and symptoms of a specific disease.
Why is a Family History Important?
An early diagnosis helps establish the correct treatment plan, improving your chances for a positive outcome. It is to your benefit to research your family medical history and document the details in your medical file. Many medical centers make it easy for you to fill out this information online at home, where you’ll have time to verify the details with family members. Keeping your Family Medical History up to date is key to helping your doctor provide you with timely and quality care.