Thanksgiving and Your Family Health History

Turkey day could have an added benefit this year
Thanksgiving is the perfect time to connect with loved ones and reflect on blessings of the past year. At St. Elizabeth Healthcare, we are encouraging families to take advantage of this time together to also spend a few minutes reflecting on your health.

While all of your family members are gathered in one place, consider using the opportunity to collect family health information. Having a comprehensive health history is an important piece of your overall medical care. Taking a few minutes after the meal or dessert to discuss the family’s health history could be advantageous for everyone at this year’s Thanksgiving table.

With each health category being discussed, make sure to include:

  • Paternal or maternal side?
  • Age of diagnosis?

Your family’s health history – key topics
The following are the most important categories to cover:

  • Cancer – According to the National Cancer Institute*, the most common types of cancer are:
    • Bladder cancer
    • Breast cancer
    • Colon and rectal cancer
    • Endometrial cancer
    • Kidney cancer
    • Leukemia
    • Liver cancer
    • Lung cancer
    • Melanoma
    • Non-Hodgkin lymphoma
    • Pancreatic cancer
    • Prostate cancer
    • Thyroid cancer
  • Heart issues
    • Heart disease
    • Heart attack
  •  Stroke
  • Diabetes
    • Type 1
    • Type 2
    • High blood pressure
    • High cholesterol

While perhaps a little sensitive for the Thanksgiving table, additional important topics for a comprehensive family health history are:

  • Alcohol abuse
  • Drug usage
  • Mental health issues (including depression and anxiety)

Put a timer on and see how comprehensive of a history you can get by working together as a family. You’ll be pleasantly surprised how effective 10 or 15 minutes can be when everyone is working towards the same goal – and the benefits will pay off for everyone at the Thanksgiving table. Make it a new tradition!

St. Elizabeth – your healthcare partner
Having a yearly checkup with your primary care physician is an important piece of your ongoing medical care. Your physician will keep your family history in your file and take it into consideration when recommending specific screenings or referrals to specialists.

If you need a primary care physician, St. Elizabeth Physicians has you covered. Please call (859) 301-3627 to schedule an appointment with one of our primary care physicians today.

[*Common cancer types are originally published by the National Cancer Institute.]