Family Health History Information


Ferre Institute




Am I at risk for heart disease?

Hereditary heart conditions

How will Genetic Counseling help me?


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Hereditary heart conditions

How will Genetic Counseling help me?

Need Help Collecting your family health history?

Download our Family Heart Health History Booklet

Family Health History

Why your family history is important

“Knowing your family health history can save your life. The earlier you know which health conditions run in your family, the easier it is to develop prevention plans with your doctor.”  --Dr. Richard H. Carmona, US Surgeon General

Collecting your family history

In a CDC-based survey of over 4,000 individuals, 97% thought that knowledge of family health history was important but, only 30% had actually ever collected health information from relatives to develop a family health history.  (Healthstyles Survey, 2004) 

How do you start?  Begin by talking and asking.....

Ask about…

Begin with yourself, then move on to parents, siblings, children, and grandparents, then aunts/uncles, nieces/nephews, and cousins.

Think about these other useful tools to collect your family health history:

Defining your family

 “Although the term ‘family history’ is in common use, it does not have a common definition—that it, it is understood differently by various clinicians and patients.”  Even the definition of the word “family” varies among different cultural groups. (NIH State of the Science Conference Statement, August 24-26, 2009).  The bottom line is, we are all part of a family, whether biological or chosen.  Families can include parents, children, biological and non-biological relatives, friends, neighbors, and even co-workers.

Resources for family history collection

US Surgeon General Family History Initiative:

Information on Family History from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)

Genetics Home Reference:

Dr. Francis Collins, former Director of the National Institutes of Health, conducts a video interview for the New England Journal of Medicine on the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA):

Family Reunion Packets:

Does it run in the family? This tool helps you create free and personalized booklets to start conversations about health in your family and community.

2008 Ferre Institute Inc. All rights reserved. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of Ferre Insitute's privacy policy. The information provided on this site is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between a patient/site visitor and his/her existing physician. Last Modified: January 28, 2010