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Family Health Portrait

This isn’t a very fun post, but I think it’s an important one!

My grandma was hospitalized Wednesday night, and since then, I’ve learned more about her health history than I ever knew before.  This reminds me of an article I read recently about the importance of knowing your family’s health.

Why is it important to know?

“For two important reasons. The simplest is that many of the studies linking a gene variant to one or another disease are incorrect at worst and useless at best. The more interesting reason to rely on your family medical history is that genes do not act in a vacuum. Those realizations have now prompted the American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) to declare family medical history “the gold standard” for assessing what diseases you are at risk for—a conclusion as surprising, given the source, as if Exxon declared solar-powered cars superior to the gasoline variety.”


Basically, even with all of the advances in genetics, your family health history is still the best predictor of your risk for various health problems (I feel like a hypocrite here because my best friend is finishing her masters in genetic counseling right now, but even she and the ASHG admit that this is true.)

So yesterday, while sitting in the hospital, I got started.  I went to My Family Health Portrait and started filling in information.  There are still a LOT of holes, which I’m hoping to fill in over the holidays.  And once it is done, I’ll never have trouble with those doctors forms about family history again, and I’ll feel confident knowing that we are providing complete and accurate information for our doctors to use when dealing with any problems my husband, children or I might have.

Like I said, not a fun post, but important.  Go get started right now!  If not for you, then at least for your children!

(And btw, they’re still doing a kazillion tests to find out what is wrong with grandma.  She has no symptoms to speak of, just had some wacky test results at a regular check up so her gorgeous, young doctor is trying to figure out what’s up.)

Would you like to comment?

  1. Your grandma is in my thoughts and prayers. Thanks for the information and resource.

  2. So sorry to hear about your grandma, especially at this time of year!

  3. I hope they figure out what's wrong with your Grandma so she can get better! :( But, I do appreciate the tips and link. Thanks! I'm definitely going to do this over the holidays, because I agree that it is very important stuff to know!


  4. Good information~.. I carry in my billfold a peice of paper with all the names of the prescriptions I take and the amount I take daily of each one.
    Hope your gramma gets better quickly.. prayers and more prayers for her...
    ta ta from Iowa

  5. Hope grandma is getting better! And yes, that's a VERY good idea!!