You came into the doctor’s clinic with a health problem that almost made you lose your sleep. The doctor started asking you questions about how you are feeling, assessing your body, and then started asking about your family member’s diseases and conditions. You may start to wonder, why might a doctor ask about family’s medical history? Let us find out why is it important for a family GP can monitor your medical history.
What’s inside your family history?
When a doctor is inquiring about your family history, he may start asking these questions:
- Do your parents suffer from any chronic illnesses or conditions like hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol?
- Are you aware of any hereditary illnesses that you have in your family?
- Any pregnancy conditions you know of within your family (miscarriages, birth defects, multiple gestations)?
- What are your family’s lifestyle habits?
- What were the reasons for the death of your family member and how old were they?
Importance of getting the family history
One of the ways we get a medical condition that is beyond our control is through our genes. Our parents or grandparents pass their genes to us without planning to share their genetic disorders and other hereditary traits. Getting the family history of a patient makes it easier for the doctor to pinpoint what exactly is wrong with you, how it started, where you get it, and how he can address it.
How to get a comprehensive family history?
One effective way of getting a valid family history is to go to the hospital or doctor’s clinic together with a close relative. Both of you can discuss and confirm your own family’s genetic predisposition and cross-check each other based on what you know about your family’s health. It is also through the doctor’s intelligent probing that important health points can be gathered by asking the right questions.