Thanksgiving is a time in which families gather to eat, drink, and give thanks for each other’s health and happiness. In 2004, the U.S. Surgeon General declared Thanksgiving as National Family History Day. 

Chances are you will be seeing grandparents, aunts and uncles, and other family members who have important memories to share. What a great opportunity to start a conversation about your family’s health! Knowing and acting on your family health history is an important part of protecting your family’s health in the future.

Family members share their genes and often also their environment and lifestyle. Together, these factors can provide clues to medical conditions that may run in a family. By noticing patterns of disorders among relatives, healthcare professionals can determine whether an individual, other family members, or future generations may be at an increased risk of developing a particular condition. 

Talk to your relatives this holiday season about their health and share it with your doctor at your next visit. Your doctor can use the information to develop a more complete picture of your health and your risk factors for disease. Together you can work on ways to reduce that risk.

Tool for Collecting Family History

Knowing what information is relevant and recording it in a way that is useful to your care provider, can seem like an overwhelming task.   Family Care Path’s web-based application MyLegacy makes family history collection easy. Data is entered once and can be updated as needed in the future. The information is analyzed using a technology that was developed by a team of genetics specialists and physicians at the Cleveland Clinic. MyLegacy will provide a report of your risk profile and family tree, saving your physician valuable time that can instead be spent on addressing your personal care and minimizing your risk for disease. 

For more information on how to collect your Family Health History and what to do with the information that you collect see The Importance of Knowing Your Family History.

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