Thursday, 27 September 2007

Take a hike up your family tree

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Does diabetes run in your family? How about cancer? Heart disease? This is the stuff you should know about your relatives, not because you're destined to fall prey to the same ailments -- although it's a possibility -- but because family history can help you chart your course for a lifestyle of prevention. If your mom and aunt both had breast cancer, for example, and you know a healthy diet and regular exercise help ward off this disease, then you can hop on board and embrace these practices. Add annual mammograms, clinical exams, and your own monthly self-exams, and you might just keep one step ahead of cancer.

It all starts with knowledge. So grab a pen and paper and begin recording your family health history. It'll be like your map -- keep it handy for yourself and take it with you to medical appointments. Here's how to put it all together.
  • Call or send e-mails to relatives informing them of your health project. Cover at least three generations -- yours (include siblings and cousins), your parents (include siblings), and your grandparents.

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