Surgeon General, NHGRI Suggest Focus on Your Family Health History
The Surgeon General and NHGRI talk about the benefits of knowing your family health history. NHGRI offers a web-based tool to help.
Akinso: Taking a look at your family tree could benefit your health down the road according to the U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Richard Carmona. Now, thanks to a declaration by the Surgeon General and the National Human Genome Research Institute, Thanksgiving this year won't just be "turkey day". It will also be known as the second annual "Family History Day," focusing on the importance of family health history. Dr. Alan Guttmacher, NHGRI's Deputy Director, talked about the updated web-based tool that can help families track their health history.
Guttmacher: It's a web-based tool that allows anybody who has access to the internet, to go in and put in information about their own family health history. The nice thing about this is that it asks you specific questions about various relatives and it helps you fill out a family tree about health history for yourself, and helps organize the information at the end. It gives you a print out you can take into your own doctor or nurse whoever is your health care provider. It gives a list of family members, what kinds of health problems they've had. And also gives you a chart that shows family relationships and shows what kinds of health issues that run in the family. And that can help a person and their health care provider craft a way to really personalize medical care, to really focus on what an individual has in terms of risks for various kinds of common diseases.
Akinso: For more information about the initiative, visit www.hhs.gov/familyhistory. This is Wally Akinso at the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland.
About This Audio Report
Reporter: Wally Akinso
Sound Bite: Dr. Alan Guttmacher
Topic: General Health