Know Your History. Know Your Health.

Healthcare professionals have known for a long time that common diseases, such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes, can run in families. If one generation of a family has high blood pressure, it is not unusual for the next generation to have similarly high blood pressure. Tracing the illnesses suffered by your parents, grandparents and other blood relatives can help your doctor predict the disorders to which you may be at risk and take action to keep you and your family healthy.

To help focus attention on the importance of family history, the Surgeon General, in cooperation with other agencies within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, has launched a national public health campaign, called the Surgeon General’s Family History Initiative, to encourage all American families to learn more about their family health history.

My Family Health Portrait Tool
A recent survey found that 96 percent of Americans believe that knowing their family history is important. Yet, the same survey found that only one-third of Americans have ever tried to gather and write down their family’s health history.

Family health history is a powerful screening tool. The Surgeon General has created a new online tool to help make it fun and easy for anyone to create a sophisticated portrait of their family’s health.

“My Family Health Portrait” is a Web-based tool that helps users organize family history information and then print it out to share with to their family doctor. In addition, the tool helps users save their family history information to their own computer and share family history information with other family members.

Access the My Family Health Portrait Web tool.

Thanksgiving, Nov. 24, is National Family Health History Day. Do your health and your family a great service by knowing your family history. You’ll be thankful you did.

Go here to find more information about gathering and sharing your health history.

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