November is Family Health History Month. Because many families gather for Thanksgiving, it’s an ideal time to collect or update information about health conditions that impact your relatives. Knowing your family health history and sharing it with your healthcare provider can help identify whether you have any increased risk of certain health conditions and, if necessary, take steps to reduce that risk.
This month, we’ll explore several genetic conditions that may run in families, including:
- Hereditary cancers
- Mental health conditions
- Jewish genetic disorders
We’ll focus on what we know – and, in some cases, don’t know – about inheritance of these conditions and how they may impact Jewish and interfaith families. Each post will feature a personal story as well as an overview of the condition and a conversation guide to talk to your relatives.
In addition to the genetic disorders we will feature this month, there are other health conditions that can run in families, such as certain types of heart disease, diabetes and others. When you talk to your family members about their health history, be sure to ask about all health conditions, including symptoms, age of diagnosis, and any lifestyle factors that may play a role.
We’ll update the blog with the next post in this series soon but if you are eager to get started, you can learn more about family health history and find tools to capture yours here. If you have additional questions about genetic health conditions or family health history, please contact the Sarnoff Center at (312) 357-4718 or JewishGenetics@juf.org and ask to speak to our genetic counselor.