Make Sure Your Children Know Their History

Researching and understanding one’s own family medical history is a great way to learn more about our rich genetic heritage--and a great way to help prevent serious issues from arising in the future.  Our genes play a vital role in our overall health, as there is a whole host of illnesses, disorders, and conditions that are hereditary, many of which are chronic and/or deadly to leave unchecked.  Cancers, diabetes, blood conditions, cardiovascular diseases--all have some sort of connection to a patient’s particular genetic code.

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At a minimum, knowing your own family history puts you in an offensive position when it comes to considering your own health and care.  If there is a tendency in your family towards obesity, you can adjust your lifestyle accordingly.  A history of addiction in the lineage suggests that you may be at risk for addictive behaviors as well, allowing you to at least attempt to avoid a similar situation in your own life.  Our genetic code is incredibly complex, and every year we learn more and more about how it affects our lives.  Risk factors common to particular genetic markers can be traced through a family lineage.  It is the responsibility of every parent to ensure that their child has as full and complete of an understanding as is at all possible of their genetic heritage.   The information is crucial for both them and their current and future physicians.

In developing a medical plan for any child (or really any person at all), having a complete and accurate family history is an important and useful tool for a doctor.  They can aid a doctor in determining not just a general diagnosis, but also what sorts of testing might need to be done to figure one out in the first place.  Consider a man with a family history of breast cancer occurring in the males of his line--he must now be vigilant about his having a higher risk for that breast cancer himself, regardless that breast cancer is a predominantly female affliction.   

Of course, it is not at all the case that people with a family history of any illness is guaranteed to contract such an illness themselves.  There is such a complex system of causality for many illness, one that includes personal lifestyle details or the work and home environments of the individual along with a preponderance of other factors, that no one could simply point to another’s family medical history and make certain declarations regarding that person’s health.  However, having a clear sense of the patient’s medical lineage aids in considering both diagnosis of illness and providing preventative treatments for situations that might yet arisen. 

The Children’s Clinic is a professional association of pediatricians that have been providing the people of Tennessee with quality care for decades.  Our highly qualified staff offers compassionate, personalized care from birth through the teenage years.  Our office is located at 264 Coatsland Drive in Jackson, TN.  You can reach us by calling 731-423-1500 or via our website.