Press Release from the CT Department of Public Health: “Knowing your family health history is an important way to understand your risk factors and the preventive steps you can take to keep you and your family healthy,” stated the Connecticut Department of Public Health Genomics Coordinator Beverly Burke. “Almost everyone has available to them their family health history, which can be used as the basis for individualized disease prevention.”
Health care professionals have known for a long time that common diseases - heart disease, cancer, and diabetes - and rare diseases - like hemophilia, cystic fibrosis, and sickle cell anemia - can run in families. If one generation of a family has high blood pressure, it is not unusual for the next generation to have similarly high blood pressure. Tracing the illnesses suffered by your parents, grandparents, and other blood relatives can help your doctor predict the disorders to which you may be at risk and take action to keep you and your family healthy.
To help focus attention on the importance of family history, the Surgeon General, in cooperation with other agencies with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, has launched a national public health campaign, called the Surgeon General's Family History Initiative, to encourage all American families to learn more about their family health history.
The U.S. Surgeon General’s Family History Initiative encourages family discussion of health history, and provides a free, easy-to-use web-based family history tool that people can download and complete called “My Family Health Portrait.” This tool can be found online in English and Spanish at https://familyhistory.hhs.gov/fhh-web/home.action