HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — State health officials are encouraging families to take a few minutes during their Thanksgiving Day festivities to discuss their family health history, one of the largest risk factors in many chronic diseases.
Department of Public Health Genomics Coordinator Beverly Burke said knowing your family health history is “an important way to understand your risk factors and the preventive steps you can take to keep you and your family healthy.”
Many common diseases like heart disease, cancer, and diabetes can run in families as can rare diseases like hemophilia, cystic fibrosis, and sickle cell anemia.
If one generation of a family has high blood pressure, for example, it’s not unusual for the next generation to have similarly high blood pressure.
Tracing illnesses suffered by parents, grandparents, and other blood relatives can help doctor predict future disorders in other family members.