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Knowing your family health history is an important part of your overall health and well-being.  Check out some health history facts that you would want to know to help maintain optimal health.

Osteoporosis and Hip Fractures: Bone density is mostly genetic.  Your chances of having a broken bone increases by 50 percent if one of your parents sustained a hip fracture.  Women over the age of 65 should get bone density screenings, but if there is a family history, then you should consider earlier screenings.  Also, check with your primary care or weight-loss doctor to be sure you are getting enough vitamin D and calcium.

Breast and Ovarian Cancer: The average woman has a 12 percent chance of being diagnosed with breast cancer.  The chances increase to 20 percent if the woman has a close relative who has had breast cancer.  A long family history of breast or ovarian cancer may be linked to an inherited genetic mutation, the BRCA gene.  Talk to your doctor about getting mammograms 10 years earlier than the youngest age at which a relative was diagnosed. 

Diabetes: Your chances of being diagnosed with diabetes are four times higher if you have a parent or sibling with diabetes.  If there is a family history of diabetes, check your blood glucose levels at least twice a year.  If there are additional risk factors present, such as obesity, get tested more often.  It is also important to maintain a healthy, low-carb diet plan and exercise on a regular basis.  Be sure to share your family history of diabetes with your weight-loss doctor.

Inflammatory Bowel Diseases: About 20 percent of people diagnosed with colon cancer have a family history of the disease.  You will also want to know if there is a family history of Crohn’s or ulcerative cancer.  If there is a family history of inflammatory bowel diseases, be sure to take your digestive system seriously.  If something feels off, get examined.  Eat plant-based foods that are full of fiber often, and limit your red meat intake.

Heart Disease: It is extremely important to know your family history regarding strokes and heart attacks.  This becomes vital information for your weight-loss doctor if a relative died prematurely of heart disease.  Knowing your risk of heart disease is only the beginning of prevention.  Regularly monitor your cholesterol and blood pressure.  Take care of your heart by skipping sugary drinks, eating heart-healthy foods, and getting regular physical activity.

Melanoma: Your dermatologist will be interested to know if you have a close relative who has been diagnosed with melanoma.  Melanoma is the rarest form of skin cancer.  However, it is the deadliest, because it can spread fairly quickly if it is not discovered early.  The risk of skin cancer is 50 percent higher when there is a family history present.  If you do have a family history of melanoma, be sure to have a skin exam every 6 months, and use a SPF 30 zinc oxide sunscreen daily.

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