Using family reunions to talk about family health history
Knowing about your familyís health history goes a long way toward preventing or delaying the development of serious diseases, like diabetes. A family reunion this summer can be an easy opportunity to talk about family health.
Balintfy: Experts advise that knowing the health history of your siblings, parents, and other blood relatives is important because it gives you and your health care team information about your risk for developing a number of serious diseases, including type 2 diabetes and kidney disease.
Rodgers: You donít have to know a lot about health to share this important information with your family.
Balintfy: Dr. Griffin Rodgers is an institute director at the National Institutes of Health. He says a family reunion is an opportunity to gather important health information.
Rodgers: Family reunions are fun and give relatives plenty of time to talk about old times, honor ancestors, sample favorite family recipes, and enjoy being together. And while the family is together, it's also a great time to talk about family health.
Balintfy: Dr. Rodgers highlights type 2 diabetes and kidney disease as conditions that run in families.
Rodgers: In fact, most people with type 2 diabetes have a family memberósuch as a mother, father, brother, or sister—with the disease. If left untreated, diabetes can lead to serious health problems including heart disease, blindness, loss of limb, kidney failure, and early death.
Balintfy: He recommends using a family reunion to learn about your family health history.
Rodgers: Also, itís a good time to focus on kidney health. The free Family Reunion Health Guide, will help you talk to your family about the connection between diabetes, high blood pressure, and kidney disease at your family reunion.
Balintfy: While a family reunion is a time for sampling traditional family recipes, Dr. Rodgers also suggests adding healthier foods, like seasonal fruits and vegetables.
Rodgers: Why fry when you can bake, broil, or grill? Instead of fried chicken, fire up the grill and remove the skin and fat from chicken breasts, drumsticks, thighs and lightly coat them with barbeque sauce. Instead of fried catfish, try baked or grilled fish seasoned with herbs, spices, or lemon juice.
Balintfy: Dr. Rodgers also reminds to drink water whenever possible, rather than soda or sweetened fruit drinks. For more tips on having a healthy family reunion, and getting a family health history, visit www.niddk.nih.gov. And to hear more from Dr. Rodgers on this topic, listen to episode 137 of the NIH Research Radio podcast. This is Joe Balintfy, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland.
About This Audio Report
Reporter: Joe Balintfy
Sound Bite: Dr. Griffin Rodgers
Topic: health history, medical history, family reunion, family health history, diabetes, type 2 diabetes, kidney disease, family health