Everyone knows what holiday it is today, but you might not know it’s also National Family History Day. Health officials suggest people take advantage of Thanksgiving to learn more about their family health history.
Governor Pat Quinn recently suggested Illinois families talk about the state’s pension problem during their Thanksgiving get-togethers. And now the state’s health department has another topic it would like you to add to the list of potentially awkward family conversations: health problems.
But knowing about your family’s history of diseases is necessary says spokesperson Melaney Arnold. She points out the more you know, the more preventive measures you can take.
ARNOLD: “It’s important to talk with your parents, your grandparents, basically start with your blood relatives and then as you go through those you can go down through your cousins and so-forth and find out what kind of health issues they may be facing.”
Arnold says it’s important that physicians know what diseases run in patients’ families. The Illinois Department of Public Health offers a tool on its website to help you organize family health history information.