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.