Here’s a Thanksgiving dinner table topic of conversation that could save our lives.

There’s no need to feel embarrassed about not knowing this next fact.

Each year since 2004, the Surgeon General has declared Thanksgiving to be National Family History Day.

No kidding!

So, why is this important?

Well, we know that common diseases (like heart disease, cancer, and diabetes) and even 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 high blood pressure, too.

Tracing the illnesses suffered by our parents, grandparents, and other blood relatives can help our doctors predict the disorders that might affect us. Then, we can work with our caregivers to take action to stay healthier, and maybe even live longer.

Over the holiday the Surgeon General (Vice Admiral Vivek H. Murthy, M.D., M.B.A.) encourages us to talk about, and to write down, the health problems that seem to run in our families. To help us out with the “write down” part, the Surgeon General has created an online tool. The tool helps organize family history information. Then, we can print it out and share it with our doctors. In addition, we can save the family history information to our own computers and share it with other family members.

Access the My Family Health Portrait Web tool at https://familyhistory.hhs.gov/.

My Family Health Portrait

You also might like to watch this brief (2:19) message from Dr. Eric Green (Director, National Human Genome Research Institute, National Institutes of Health) about National Family History Day: https://youtu.be/UCDvw2vYapc

Hey, we can even watch the video with our families. (Ahhh… two blissful minutes without squabbling.)

Happy Thanksgiving from all your friends @ Miner.

 

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