Family Health

Prepare for Emergencies with a Family Health Record

Dec 3 • 2014
Family Health Record

Many households have safety plans or emergency information readily available in order to prepare for the unexpected, but one thing that is often forgotten is a family health record. These records can be used to identify conditions or diseases that are common in your family. Having this information can help you take ample preventive measures and even result in a healthier lifestyle.

When creating your family health record, you’ll want to go back in time three or four generations and include parents, grandparents, children, grandchildren, siblings, and even aunts, uncles, and cousins. By analyzing the health of so many people in your immediate family, you can more easily determine what family members might be at risk for certain diseases, what conditions could be passed along to children, and how often family members should be getting certain tests when they visit the doctor.

The more information you have in the record, the better it is. Try to be as comprehensive as possible, beginning with generic things like birthdays, gender, age, and ethnic background. If the family member is already deceased, be sure to note that age and cause of death as this could also be relevant. Then, move on to more specific information like major physical illnesses, chronic conditions, mental disorders, birth defects, or learning disabilities. Even things like miscarriages or vision issues should be included if the information is readily available. All of these health factors add up to create a more vivid picture of each person’s health.

Another thing you may want to include on your family health record is personal health preferences or information. This is only necessary for your immediate family, like your spouse and children. However, notes like prescription allergies, opinions of life support, and other choices are great references to have in case of an emergency.

When your family health record is complete, feel free to take it to your family doctor. He or she can analyze it and recommend any specific testing to add to your regular check-ups in order to prevent illnesses, especially those that come with a genetic risk.

Have you created your own family health record? Share your suggestions for information to include in the comments below.