Integrated Family Community Services 3370 South Irving Street, Englewood, CO 80110-1816 Ph: 303-789-0501

5 Family Health History Questions to Ask Your Parents

Details pertaining to your family’s medical history often play an integral role when it comes to preventing or diagnosing many different illnesses and medical conditions. Possessing a similar genetic makeup as your family members often means sharing the same risk factors or having a higher likelihood of responding to various treatments and medications in the same way. Knowing which health-related questions to ask your parents could end up making a life-saving difference.

Heart Disease

When it comes to determining genetic risk-factors for a medical condition, heart disease should be at the top of the list. While heart disease remains the leading cause of death in the U.S., leading a healthier lifestyle has the potential to make a real difference. Learning if you may be at increased risk is the first step towards preventing heart disease.

Cancer and Diabetes

Heart disease is not the only serious condition that carries a strong genetic risk factor. Many types of cancers as well as increased risk of diabetes also run in the family. Possessing more accurate insight into your family’s medical history can allow to make the right decisions regarding your heath.

Mental Illness

Many mental illnesses have a strong genetic component. While these diseases may not be as serious a health risk as cancer or heart disease, knowing more about them can still be very important. Mental illness can often be difficult to diagnose and having a detailed family medical history can make an important difference.


Diseases and medical issues which could end up limiting your physical ability can have a major impact on your overall quality of life. Arthritis, diseases that effect the body’s connective tissues and even certain autoimmune disorders may all involve an inherited genetic component. Determining risk factors or devising a prevention or management strategy will depend on having the most accurate information.

Allergies and Medications

Medical allergies can be life-threatening, especially if they go unnoticed or diagnosed. Different individuals may also respond to treatments and medications in different ways. From discovering a potentially life-threatening allergy to determining the best knee pain treatment options, your family history is often an important piece of the overall puzzle.

Extended Family

While the medical history of your immediate family is often the most relevant when it comes inheriting a medical condition or determining a risk factor, learning about your extended family can still be beneficial. Details pertaining to the health and life expectancy of your grandparents can be worth seeking out. Knowing more about your family’s history can allow you to protect and maintain your own health with greater ease and success.

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