The aging of your family during the holidays may have caused you to consider your own genetic makeup.
Admit it. You will eventually have to pose awkward questions to your immediate relatives—those with whom you share 50% of your genetic material, such as siblings, parents, and children. Perhaps it was awkward to have difficult conversations around the holidays. But be determined to research genetics in 2023. You might not have realized how closely financial and retirement planning are related to genetic questions.
Knowing about your family member’s health conditions will help you make plans, especially financial ones, for future conditions you are likely to develop as well as prevent costly and incapacitating ones.
You may know your family tree, but do you know your family's health?
I'm referring to how crucial it is to understand your family's medical history. According to one study, your genes, in a complicated interplay with your environment, predetermine roughly 40% of your health demands. In addition, genetic and environmental factors can predict about 60% of monthly health expenditures.
Consider this as another approach to assess the significance of genes and behavior: Your health is influenced by ten percent by the standard of your medical care, twenty percent by your genes, and thirty percent by your social environment, which includes exposures that switch on
genes (a phenomenon known as an epigenetic phenomenon), and forty percent by your actions. Even though not all diseases are inherited, some disorders can be significantly avoided or predicted.
Studies have shown that some cancers, such as breast, ovarian, and colon cancer, have strong genetic components, but other cancers, such as cervical cancer, do not. And did you know that having parents with early-onset heart disease can increase your risk of developing cardiovascular disease by 60–75%? Angina, heart attacks, heart failure, and strokes are all included in the category of illnesses known as cardiovascular disease. You see what I mean. Changes in lifestyle have a positive impact on cardiovascular disease. Diabetes and metabolic disorders are both highly inherited conditions. Diabetes can lead to other, more costly conditions, but fortunately, they are equally amenable to lifestyle adjustments.
It is crucial to know whether family members now or formerly suffered from chronic illnesses, as well as when these illnesses first manifested. Knowing whether the illness started earlier or later in life can affect additional preventive efforts.
Questions To Ask Your Family during that tough conversation
• Suffer from diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, or high cholesterol.
• Have they experienced a stroke or cancer? Asking what kind of cancer is crucial.
• At what age were each of these illnesses or medical issues discovered?
• Where were your ancestors from and what is their family history?
• How well-advanced cognitively are your parents and grandparents?
• What were the causes of death and ages of departed family members?
I understand. It is difficult to comprehend posing these private inquiries to parents, grandparents, and siblings. However, the knowledge is valuable for your doctor to have, and it could inspire motivating fear
in you to change your behavior and obtain the exams you require.
To assist with gathering a family health history, the Surgeon General’s office has created an online and printable tool called My Family Health Portrait. It allows for easy use to enter family health information which can be printed to take along to doctor appointments. It can be saved, updated, and shared with other family members.
My Family Health Portrait
Happy financial planning to you and I wish you a healthy and prosperous 2023.