Mart Via Flickr

Mart Via Flickr

Those who don’t learn from history are bound to repeat it.

Digging into your family’s past will give you a glimpse of your own future. What you uncover in your family history will help point you to what health issues to prioritize.

When you are done digging up the dirt, be sure to pass on details about your family history to your own kids.

You will spare them the hassle of having to dig up these skeletons themselves.

Here is a simple checklist to help you with this archeological project:

1. Get a pencil and paper.  You then draw out your family tree down 3 generations at least. 4 generations is ideal. We are talking great-grand parents leading down to grand parents, leading down to your generation and then your kid(s).

2. Beside each name, mark if that family member is alive or passed on. You can use the plus (+) sign for alive and the minus (-) sign for deceased.

3. For the departed, write down the cause of death beside the name.

4. Beside each name, write down the health issues you are know this family member has.

5. Fill in your knowledge gap by talking to other family members – parents & grandparents in particular.

6. Look for any patterns or disease clusters. Common ones would be cancers, heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s dementia and such like.

7. Keep this record in your head and on paper.

Depending on what you uncover, you can then choose to change the course of history from there on (for the negative discoveries) or reinforce your positive rich heritage.

There is a good chance that heart disease would find it’s way on that list. It STILL is the #1 killer of American women after all.

The quiz below calculates your risk of suffering a heart attack over the next 10 years based on your age, blood pressure, smoking history and cholesterol levels.

Take it for a test drive, will you?

Your Chances of Having a Heart Attack Over the Next 10 Years Quiz is available to logged in Healthgist members.

Not yet a member? Create your account now. It’s FREE!

Create My Account

[show_to accesslevel=’Healthgist Free Account’][show_to accesslevel=’Healthgist Membership Plus’][vqzb quiz_id=9][/show_to]

About the author

Avatar photo

Dr. Bola

Family physician. Works for the "man" by day, wife & mom 24/7.
Loves the work of translating "medicalese" to plain english.


  • I have always told my daughters that they must be proactive about their health since their father was adopted, and we have no information about his family health history. His adoption was done on the black market almost 70 years ago in such a way as to prevent ever obtaining information. Thanks so much for all of the great suggestions and articles that you gals make available to us.

Leave a Comment