Thanksgiving is only a little more than a week away. You may be thinking turkey, parades and football, but you should also be thinking Family Health History. Since 2004, the Surgeon General has declared Thanksgiving Day as Family Health History Day.
As the family historian or genealogist, you have information that can be life saving to other members of your family. As you gather around the table it's a great time to talk about family history, and especially health history. Have you found a pattern of certain cancers or heart disease in your family? Sharing that information may encourage a discussion with a doctor that could identify possible tests or lifestyle changes that could save your life or that of a family member.
To prepare for that discussion why not create a Family Health Portrait (available at the Surgeon General's site). You can complete the document with the information you already know and use your family gathering to ask questions to fill in any blanks. You can then share this with family members, allowing them to create their own health history.
When I moved to Florida and had to find new doctors I created my own health history. I provided the document to my new doctors with some mixed results. My family practioner, however, analyzed it and used it as a starting point to discuss my overall health and to determine what diagnostic tests were important. Last year I had genetic testing done by 23 & Me. In some cases it confirmed information I already knew, but my doctor pointed out that the family health history was even more important.
I hope you'll share this important information with others.