Thanksgiving is National Family Health History Day

LAGRANGE, Ga. - As you're gathering with family over the Thanksgiving holiday, the surgeon general hopes you'll take an important step that could save your life or the life of family member.

Thanksgiving is National Family Health History Day. Since 2004, the U.S. Surgeon General has urged Americans to use Thanksgiving as a day to learn about your family's health history. Having this information is a primary care physician's dream.

Dr. Srinivas Bramhadevi of West Georgia Physicians likes the Surgeon General's family health history initiative. He says genetic disorders can be determined pretty early. In adolescents, parents may get a heads up about any mental illness that may be genetic.

"Bi-polar disorder, it has a very strong genetic disposition and depression also has a strong family history especially in adolescents," said Dr. Bramhadevi.

Certain conditions tend to run in families such as heart disease and diabetes. Diseases such as hemophilia, cystic fibrosis, and sickle cell anemia, can run in families too. If one generation of a family has high blood pressure, it likely will show up in the next generation. Knowing your family history can help you make lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise. Dr. Bramhadevi  says it's also important to know the family's history when it comes to determining your risk for certain cancers.

"We can start thinking about screening of cancers like colon cancer or breast cancer, ovarian cancer, all these really helps."

For more information on how to get the conversation started, visit the Surgeon General's Family Health Initiative at http://www.hhs.gov/programs/prevention-and-wellness/family-health-history/about-family-health-history/index.html# .


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