Government encouraging families to share medical histories on Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is the ideal day to talk about your family’s health history with clan members, says Acting U.S. Surgeon General Boris Lushniak, MD, MPH. It may be a topic of discussion you can encourage among residents and their families as well.

This year marks the 10th observance of the day on Thanksgiving.

“As a physician, I know that a patient’s family health history is an easy, quick and inexpensive way to get a rough estimate of how strongly a particular disease runs in a family,” Lushniak says. Those who have immediate family members—mother, father, sister or brother—with heart disease are at twice the risk of developing heart disease as someone without that family history, he adds, noting that under the Affordable Care Act, many preventive screenings are now covered in full.

A tool on the government’s My Family Health Portrait website is designed to help people record and organize their family health information as well as share it with family members and healthcare professionals.

The Conversation Project and Eldercare Locater’s Home for the Holidays campaign is encouraging families to discuss end-of-life issues during the holidays, too.

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Topics: Executive Leadership