Issues in aging

October 2010


Family health history

A role in prevention

Volume 39, No.10, October 2010 Pages 793-794

Kate Dunlop

Kristine Barlow-Stewart

Michael Giffin

To harness its potential, a patient’s family health history should be collected pre-emptively and proactively when the patient is well, rather than when symptoms of disease present. Unless general practitioners proactively seek and discuss family health history, opportunities for prevention may be lost.

It is well recognised that family health history (FHH) is an important tool for predicting risk, for early detection,1 and for identifying at risk individuals for whom genetic testing may be warranted.2 Family health history reflects genetic predisposition as well as environmental and lifestyle factors.2 It provides clear direction for prevention strategies in some common conditions, such as type 2 diabetes.3

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