Your family history includes health information about you and your close relatives. Families have many factors in common, including their genes, environment, and lifestyle. Looking at these factors can help you figure out whether you have a higher risk for certain health problems, such as heart disease, stroke, and cancer.
Having a family member with a disease raises your risk, but it does not mean that you will definitely get it. Knowing that you are at risk gives you a chance to reduce that risk by following a healthier lifestyle and getting tested as needed.
You can get started by talking to your relatives about their health. Draw a family tree and add the health information. Having copies of medical records and death certificates is also helpful.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Family Health History for Adults (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- Family History (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- Knowing is Not Enough - Act on Your Family Health History (Department of Health and Human Services)
- Medical History: Compiling Your Medical Family Tree (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research) Also in Spanish
- Why Is It Important to Know My Family Medical History? (National Library of Medicine)
- Genetics, Disease Prevention and Treatment (National Human Genome Research Institute)
Health Check Tools
- My Family Health History (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute) - PDF
Statistics and Research
- Family Health Matters: How Twin Studies Can Help Everyone (National Institutes of Health) Also in Spanish
- ClinicalTrials.gov: Family History (National Institutes of Health)
Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
- Article: The association between family history of prostate cancer and development of...
- Article: COVID-19 tents: specialized triage service, a temporal analysis of the patients'...
- Article: Family History of Diabetes and the Effectiveness of Lifestyle Intervention on...
- Family History -- see more articles