8 Things To You Need To Know About Your Family Health History

When doctors ask for your family health history during treatment, you may be unsure about the right information to give them. In this article, we will cover key details you need to know about your family’s health history for every doctor’s appointment.

Important Information For Your Doctor

You should tell them about ongoing conditions like asthma or diabetes. If your parents, grandparents, or siblings have had serious illnesses like stroke or cancer, your doctor must be informed.

Health Conditions That Run in Your Family

If a close relative has a certain condition, it does not mean you will get it too. However, your changes could be higher than that of another person. Certain issues that can be passed down include:

  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • High Cholesterol
  • Asthma
  • Kidney disease

Your Ethnicity

Your doctor might ask about your race because individuals with roots in certain parts of the world are likely to have certain conditions. For instance, African-Americans have a higher chance of getting sickle cell anemia, while Jewish people from Eastern Europe are likelier to have Tay-Sachs disease.

How Do You Get the Information?

If you don’t know much about your close relatives’ health, you can talk to your aunts, uncles, or cousins. You can also search for some family trees or baby books that might be useful.

Help Online

If you want an easier way to get this information, you can contact the U.S. Surgeon General’s Office and get a document called My Family Health Portrait. This can help you create a family medical tree to share with relatives and download to show your doctor.

Getting Records

If you have questions that your relatives can’t answer, medical records or death certificates can give you specifics. This includes age of death, cause of death, and ethnic background.
However, the rules for getting this information might differ from state to state. However, close family members are usually allowed to order copies of these.

Ancestry Research

If you don’t know much about your relatives and don’t have time to conduct personal research, there are multiple companies that can help fill out your family tree. Once you know your relatives’ names, you can try contacting them or get death certificates if they have passed away.


If you’re willing to go the extra mile, you can get your genes tested with DNA testing. This can help you know if you are more likely to get certain diseases or pass problem genes to your children.


With access to your family health history, your doctor can properly diagnose and treat you. To get this information, you can consult your relatives, check death certificates or get a company to assist you in filling out your family tree.