It never fails…you visit a new doctor, and as part of being a new patient, a wealth of paperwork is handed your way. You take a seat in the waiting room and begin to write down what seems to be your life story. Without a doubt, there will be a section completely dedicated to writing down your family health history. The only problem is, you are either unfamiliar or have forgotten about the details. This was the case when I started to see multiple doctors when I initially got sick. So, to resolve this, I came up with my own family health tree to document all of the health issues and events that my family members had faced. There are numerous templates available online to follow or even print out and put to use, however, I decided to create my own using an Excel spreadsheet. Whichever one works best for you, go ahead and put it to use or create your very own.
What information do I include
First things first, be sure to talk with your family, let them know what you are creating and be sure to get their permission. Next, ask them questions; you want to be sure that you have recorded the correct information. What information you want to include is entirely up to you and your family. Include such things as date of birth, date and cause of death and most certainly, medical conditions such as heart diseases, cancers, depression or other mental disorders, developmental problems, known genetic conditions (if your family members can tell you what age those conditions began at, that is even better). Include yourself, your parents, your grandparents, siblings, aunt, uncles…essentially anyone who is part of your family.
The best part about creating an electronic family health tree is that you can save the document on the computer and return to it as often as you need to, updating events as they occur. Going to a new doctor? Simply print off a copy to give to the new office to place in your medical file. Not only will this save you the hassle of trying to recall all of the history of your family when filling out new patient forms, it will also provide the doctor with helpful information, especially in cases where illnesses or diseases are common in your family. Knowing what conditions exist, a physician can ensure to keep his/her eyes open to early symptoms of those conditions, allowing them to address them sooner rather than later.
To assist you in creating your own Family Health Tree, check out some of these helpful links for more information or templates you may use….