1% Thursday: Family Medical History

by James on 20 January 2011

This week, compile your relevant family medical history.  I’m not talking about the history of your immediate family, but medical history of other family members that may impact you.

We’ve talked about doing a family medical history when we organized our medical records.  But that was enough to do without the family history aspect, and I want to make sure we don’t miss this, because it’s important.

You’ll want to especially consider parents, siblings, grandparents, uncles and aunts, and great-grandparents.  Try making a spreadsheet with this basic information:

  • Gender
  • Date of birth
  • For deceased relatives, age at death, date and cause of death
  • Ethnicity
  • Diet and exercise habits
  • Relation to you

Now, obviously, you’ll be interested in medical information.  Here are some things you’ll want to focus on, particularly as a migraine/cluster headache/chronic daily headache/etc sufferer.

  • Cancer
  • Heart Disease
  • Migraine/Cluster etc (any kind of headache – remember, headaches were understood differently even 20 years ago)
  • Diabetes
  • Depression/anxiety
  • Dementia
  • Asthma
  • Arthritis
  • Mental illness
  • High blood pressure/high cholesterol
  • Stroke
  • Kidney disease
  • Substance abuse (alcoholism, smoking, drugs)
  • Vision/hearing loss
  • Infertility or miscarriaged
  • Epilepsy

In many cases, finding out this information can be challenging.  I highly suggest you read the Mayo Clinic’s article Medical history: Compiling your medical family tree to get you thinking before you start talking to family members.

As challenging as it may be, it’s very worth it to have an organized medical family tree.  Not just for your benefit, but for your other family members as well!

What is 1% Thursday?

1% Thursday

Every Thursday at Headache and Migraine News (weather permitting) we’ll talk about one measurable, practical thing we can do to make our lives just 1% better.  Usually it will be something very easy, sometimes it will be a challenge.  Let us know if you try it, or share an idea of your own – and maybe a year from now we’ll see that things have really changed for the better!

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Christine January 21, 2011 at 9:28 am

Fortunately my Mom is a (retired) nurse and she typed out our family history a while back, with good details. I keep the Word doc and print it our whenever I go to a new doctor, and I update it when necessary. When I bring it in and hand to the doctors they are very appreciative, and I too am grateful it is so easy for them to see my family history and I don’t have to try and remember everything for each doctor’s visit :)

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Daniel February 19, 2012 at 6:25 pm

How is cancer or asthma related to migraine?

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