Did you know that like the color of your eyes, tendencies from many health conditions are genetically passed from one family member to another? If you have a blood relative with heart disease, your risk for developing it significantly increases. Heart disease can be passed along to younger generations, but so can healthy habits that will help you and others avoid health risks. The more you know about your family’s health history, the more you can do to reduce your risk of heart disease.
My sister and I were talking the other week about family health history. With aging parents, and our own health problems we want to be more informed on our possible genetic health risks. As we were talking, Marsha had told me that she had gone through genealogy information that our brother had prepared. As she was looking she found some very distressing news. Our great-grandmother died from breast cancer. Neither one of us knew the kind of cancer she had when she died. My sister said that she asked our cousin, who has battled and won breast cancer twice, if she knew about this; our cousin screamed on the other end of the phone… ‘NO one said a word!” My sister and cousin both asked their mothers and their response, “Well, it’s just not something you talk about or discuss. It’s private.”
Have you received the same response from your mothers when you ask about family health history? Are you coming up with road blocks when you ask your family about their medical history or past relative’s medical history?