Family Health and Heredity
In addition to risky behaviors and environmental factors affecting our health, our DNA can also play a large role in our overall health and life expectancy. This activity is designed to help you determine your potential health in the future. By analyzing family health you can identify which diseases and tendencies might manifest in you and impact your health. When you identify your family tendencies for disease, you can take steps to prevent or modify these to have a healthy, long life!
- Describe your immediate family’s health. Include your mother, father and siblings. Identify acute diseases (brief and severe; like injuries from an accident or appendicitis) and chronic diseases (a disease having long duration or recurring frequently; like high blood pressure or arthritis).
- Next talk to a family member who has knowledge of the family at least back to your grandparents, aunts and uncles. Do the same thing for them that you did for your immediate family; i.e., identify and describe both acute and chronic diseases. As an example of how an acute problem could indicate an inherited disorder, if you have a grandparent who has had several bad falls, it may indicate a neurological disorder, like balance issues or even dementia.
- Describe the diseases or problems that appear to be inherited or run in your family. You may be young and healthy now without disease, but you might not always be. If you know what tendencies you may inherit you can take steps to minimize your risk.