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    by Ngozi Osuagwu, MD | November 18th, 2018


    “I believe that the greatest gift you can give your family and the world is a healthy you.”

                                                                                                                     Joyce Meyer

    Your family can literally save your life. November 22nd is not only Thanksgiving Day but it also National Family Health History Day. Your family history is one of the strongest influence in your risk of developing such diseases as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and certain types of cancers to name a few. Since 2004, Thanksgiving Day has been designated National Family History Day.

    When you see your health care provider, part of your medical history is inquiring about your family history. We want to know about your grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles and cousins. We want to know about major health conditions and causes of death. We want to know the age of onset of the disease and the age of death. We also want to know the ethnic background. Sounds like a lot – try your best. The holiday season is the best time to get that kind of information since you will be seeing family.

    Why is the information important? I know we cannot change your genes, but if we know what conditions run in your family, we as health care providers can instruct you on ways to prevent the disease from occurring or try to delay the onset of disease. It might make a difference in a medication that we prescribe because we know that you are susceptible to a certain disease. You might be referred to a genetic specialist because you might need special screening tests.

    Sometimes asking about family history may be difficult. In every family, there are those that would like to keep things private. It might require that you explain why. Will you be the one? Will you be the one to gather the information and disseminate the information to the rest of the family?

    As most of you who have been reading my blogs know, I have a strong family history of diabetes. My paternal grandfather died of diabetes during his prime and my father died of complications of diabetes in his 50s. Most of the male family members on my father’s side have diabetes. What that means for my siblings and my children is that they have to maintain a healthy weight, exercise and be screened regularly.

    For more information on how to gather the information and document the information, please click here.

    I wish you a Happy Thanksgiving with family and friends filled with happiness, peace,

    love and of course good food.



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