Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Saving a Life - Your Family's Health History

From IRGS President Tom Garvey's December 2009 newsletter column:

[A] very interesting presentation was given by Donna Moughty at the Nov FSGS conference titled "Saving a Life - Your Family's Health History". If you recall, last month I talked about the emerging importance of Family Health and the natural tie-in with Family Genealogy. My message was to get your information now while older generations are still with us so we have it in the future. Donna showed us a Family Health Pedigree Chart. She pointed out that this was extremely useful in providing your family doctor with a visual snapshot of your medical background which is present in your genes. Granted, not all doctors have the background to understand or appreciate such a chart. BUT, particularly with the younger doctors, doctors with the understanding will be delighted with this information and will be better able to guide you to better health management.

Sounds interesting but how can we do it? The Department of Health and Human Services under the U.S. Surgeon General's History Initiative has a web site http://www.hhs.gov/familyhistory/ which walks you through creating your own Family Health Pedigree Chart. The information that you provide is not stored on line; it is only stored on your computer. This is a very sensitive issue with many people. You already have your genealogy pedigree chart so you have the people information. The web site has a list of 15 diseases with several sub divisions to help you put in the information. They have a different symbol for each disease which is then used to create your Family Health chart. It does take time but it seems very straight forward. Just go to the web site shown above and click on "My Family Health Portrait".

Let us know if this is of interest to you. If enough interest is shown, we will try to arrange a program with Donna Moughty. Donna is a fine lecturer and we had her last year talking about Irish Research. She has created her own family Health Pedigree Chart and has used it with her own doctor. As many of us are learning, the key to good health is finding the problem early. Many diseases follow family or regional lines.

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