In recent years, genealogy has become a popular pastime for many people. Tracing our family lineage and history can reveal unexpected discoveries, such as our ancestors’ medical history. It’s fascinating to uncover these surprises and learn more about our heritage.
Recording our family lineage involves much more than merely listing who married whom, birthdates, and the number of children born. It also entails uncovering any ailments or illnesses that previous family members have suffered or passed away from.
The medical history contains valuable health information
Men need to be aware of their family’s medical history, as it contains valuable health information among those closest to them who share similar genes, environment, and lifestyle. It is common for men to visit the doctor and be asked about their family health history. Still, they may not know what their grandparents passed away from, which could provide important information about their health. Understanding their family medical history is crucial, as many hereditary diseases are passed down through shared genes.
It is important to know our past to pave the way for a healthier future. Men should be informed about their medical history from both sides of their family, including their parents, siblings, maternal and paternal grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and nieces and nephews. This way, they can provide their doctor with necessary information such as:
- The current age of at least first degree relatives – parents, grandparents, and siblings.
- All medical conditions including mental health and the age at the time of a diagnosis of a disease or illness of each family member.
- Age and causes of death of deceased family members.
- Pay close attention to diseases or conditions such as skin, prostate or colon cancer, diabetes, heart disease and stroke, obesity, asthma and autoimmune diseases in family members.
- A sudden death of a family member who appeared healthy.
Some men may choose not to be informed about their family’s health history. However, it is important to note that many illnesses have modifiable risk factors, and being aware of such information can be beneficial for their overall health. If a man knows early on what diseases or medical conditions are common in his family tree, he can reduce his risk or at least lessen the severity of his illness by changing his health habits.
Here are some ways a man can reduce his chances of developing a disease or medical condition that past family members had:
- Regular medical screenings to detect a disease at an early stage such as a colonoscopy, PSA test, skin check, or getting tested for a medical condition that runs in his family.
- Develop a personalized prevention plan by adopting lifestyle changes of eating a healthier diet, regular exercise and not smoking.
- Keeping an accurate and up-to-date medical record of all diseases or illnesses within the family and what each family member died from.
By researching his family medical history, a man can gain the knowledge necessary to care for himself and avoid potential health issues. Understanding that he shares not only genes but also behaviors and cultural practices with his family members can help him assess his risk of developing specific health problems. Armed with this information, he can work with his doctor to predict possible health risks and take preventative measures to maintain his health.
Dr. David Samadi is the Director of Men’s Health and Urologic Oncology at St. Francis Hospital in Long Island. He’s a renowned and highly successful board certified Urologic Oncologist Expert and Robotic Surgeon in New York City, regarded as one of the leading prostate surgeons in the U.S., with a vast expertise in prostate cancer treatment and Robotic-Assisted Laparoscopic Prostatectomy. Dr. Samadi is a medical contributor to NewsMax TV and is also the author of The Ultimate MANual, Dr. Samadi’s Guide to Men’s Health and Wellness, available online both on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Visit Dr. Samadi’s websites at robotic oncology and prostate cancer 911.