Family health history, also known as medical genealogy, is getting more interest from heritage researchers. Many of the factors that determine our health (or illnesses) today were inherited from our ancestors. Experts state that about 3000 of the 10,000 known diseases have genetic links, and that many diseases "run in families," including colon cancer, heart disease, alcoholism and high blood pressure. Creating a family health history can be a useful tool to aid you and your medical care provider in interpreting patterns of health, illness and genetic traits for you and your descendants.
Getting started is just like any heritage research project - begin with what you know. Record the medical and health facts for yourself, then go back a generation at a time. The items to record can include:
Sources for information can include your medical records and the recollections of you and your living relatives. But for deceased ancestors, you can try:
Who knows, maybe the information you find today will save a life tomorrow.