Family history possesses valuable information about a person’s past and future life. It can be used as a powerful screening tool to help conduct decisions about genetic testing for you and family members at risk. Family history can identify potential health problems that an individual has an increased risk for in their lifetime. With early identification, you can begin taking steps to reduce the risk with things such as lifestyle changes of diet and exercise. In many cases, just by adopting a healthier lifestyle can reduce your risk for diseases that run in your family.
Your genetic information determines the genes you inherit that may cause or elevate your risk of certain medical conditions. My family genogram clearly indicates the risk of developing type 2 diabetes (T2D), heart disease (HD), hypercholesterolemia (HC) and hypertension (HTN). Heart disease is indicated on both maternal and paternal side and even though T2D only shows on my paternal side, the other diseases such as HC and HTN that are on my maternal side are risk factors for developing diabetes. According to Pessoa Marinho et al. (2013), the genetic and environmental risk factors that influence T2D development are: “age, gender, ethnicity, family history, obesity, inactivity, gestational diabetes, macrosomia, hypertension, decreased high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, increased triglycerides, cardiovascular diseases, micropolycystic ovary syndrome, high blood glucose on previous testing, impaired glucose tolerance and glycated hemoglobin ≥5.7%” (Pessoa Marinho et al., 2013, p. 570). Bianco et al. (2013) states, “the maternal influence confirms the hereditary role in the diabetes pathogenesis that women with positive family history to the illness presented...
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...es of developing these diseases. While a family history provides information about the risk of specific health concerns, having a family history of certain medical conditions doesn’t mean that you will develop the same conditions. Disease is not imminent, by developing lifestyle changes your health can be controlled and risk lowered by changing behaviors that increase your chances.
A family medical history can reveal the history of disease in your family and allow you to identify patterns that might be relevant to your own health. These conditions are influenced by a combination of genetic factors, environmental conditions and lifestyle choices. It is impossible to change family history or genes, however knowing that certain diseases run in your family can be an incentive to decrease any other factors that when put together, further increase the risk.
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