Promoting an Awareness of Family Health History and Future Health in LGBT Families
The LGBT Healthy Families Initiative is aware that even though LGBT families are not always completely biologically related, the way that we live and the healthy choices we make as well as our genetic makeup affect our future health and the future of our families.
Do different members of your family have the same kinds of health problems?
Your family's health history describes what kind of problems run in your family. Together, all of your family's stories about health, both good and bad, are called your family health history. Many of your physical traits, such as eye color, hair color, and height are inherited, or passed down in the family. It is important to know that you could also inherit the potential to develop certain illnesses, like heart disease, diabetes, or cancer.
Your family history is one of the most important things in determining your potential for future health problems like heart disease, stroke, diabetes, Alzheimer disease, and cancer. By understanding your family history, you may be able to reduce your risk by making changes to your lifestyle and/or seeking preventative medical care. Knowing your risk can change your behavior, personalize your health management, and potentially save your life!
Creating a Family Health History can be a useful tool for you and your medical care provider in interpreting patterns of health, illness, and traits for you and your descendants. Speak with your provider or genetic counselor about any concerns you may have about your family history. Genetic counselors are specially trained healthcare professionals who can help individuals and families understand hereditary risk factors for disease based on the family’s health history (visit www.nsgc.org to find a genetic counselor in your region).