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Holidays a good time to talk Family Health History


How much do you know about your family health history? It can be an uncomfortable conversation to have, but its vital to staying healthy. And the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday may be the perfect time to talk.

Kristen Rasmussen, a genetic counselor at Marshfield Clinic, says it's important to know your family's health history. And knowing just what questions to ask can be difficult. But making sure you're getting detailed answers is key.

"People know that they had a grandparent that died of a heart attack or heart disease," said Rasmussen, "but they don't know a lot more details, it is important to know, there is different kids of heart disease."

Rasmussen says having and idea of your family's health history can prevent things like high cholesterol, high blood pressure, even cancer from showing up on your charts.

"One example might be colon cancer," she explained, "most people get a colonoscopy at age 50 and do that every 10 years. But if you have a family history of colon cancer, you may need to get screening earlier."

She says once you get the information you need, write it down, and give everyone in your family a copy.

Links to Family History Checklists:

Marshfield Clinic Family Health History Work Sheet

Surgeon General Family Health Portrait


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