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The U.S. Surgeon General, with help from the National Human Genome Research Institute (part of the National Institutes of Health), is encouraging families to create a comprehensive health history and have created a new Family History Health tool to aid people in this task.
Health concerns such as diabetes, cancer, and heart disease are often inherited. Tracing illness back generation after generation can help you and your healthcare practitioner predict your risk for specific diseases. It is also important to know your family health history in order to see what screenings and treatments you might need before any disease is evident.
The Surgeon General’s online tool will allow people to record their family health history before going to any medical appointment. It also allows users to save their family history to their own computer and they can also share this information with other family members.
The tool is available in English, Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese.
Before using the Family Health History tool, it’s important to gather the important family details of older relatives. The most important relatives are parents, siblings, grandparents, and children. The tool is free to all users.