Keeping track of your family’s health history is easier than ever thanks to at-home DNA test kits. These kits have become popular in the last few years, especially as a gift around the holidays. At-home DNA kits are generally noninvasive and efficient. You receive your results quickly and can even access them online. These kits can:

  • Promote open, honest, and regular discussion around your genetic health history;
  • Potentially prevent future medical issues by educating you about conditions you are at risk of developing, allowing you to take preventative measures early;
  • Make you aware of any hereditary diseases that run in your family, such as Huntington’s disease or sickle cell anemia;
  • Alert you if you are a carrier for any disorders you might not know about, such as cystic fibrosis, which can inform future life decisions;
  • Tell you if you are predisposed to developing certain conditions, including diabetes, late-onset Alzheimer’s, or celiac disease, so you can make proactive lifestyle changes; and
  • Encourage you to be more in-touch with your body and personal health by signifying traits you may be more likely to have, such as maintaining a heavier weight.

While DNA test kits offer many helpful health benefits, it is important to note that results from at-home tests are not as strictly regulated as those performed in medical offices. Additionally, not all at-home DNA kits give the same information and level of detail, so your findings might vary from what is listed here. Therefore, you should always consult your primary care physician to discuss your results in more detail.

If you prefer the old-fashioned way, the Center for Disease Control recommends compiling a comprehensive family health history to discuss with primary care physicians or pediatricians. If you aren’t sure how to go about recording your family’s health history, use the following tips to get started:

  1. Record the names of your close relatives from both sides of the family for three generations (parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, nieces, and nephews).
  2. Include all diseases and conditions with which the family member was diagnosed and the age at diagnosis.
  3. Include the age and cause of death of deceased family members.
  4. Include family and biological relationship.
  5. Talk to family members about health history and updating your record from time to time as needed.

Have any of your family members had or have chronic diseases or conditions such as cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes, or heart disease? This may increase your risk of developing those conditions. It is also important to keep in mind that a complete family history includes all family members, even those who are not biologically related. In addition to someone’s genealogy, his or her environment, behavior, and lifestyle can influence the risk for conditions and diseases. And, regardless of the relationship, family members often share social and environmental exposures that may influence health risks.

Talking to your family about their health history, followed by a discussion with your primary care physician, is an important step in understanding your own health and preventing future diseases. This year, help your family stay happy and healthy by leading the conversation around your shared health history.


We would love to learn what would be helpful on this page for you.

Articles by tag

2020 2021-top-workplace 4th-of-July 5-star-physician aberdeen Acetaminophen ACLS activity AED air-purification allentown Allergies amerigroup announcement Antibiotics anxiety Aspen Hill coming soon Asthma autumn award awards back-to-school baltimore baltimore-child baltimore's-child baltimore-sun beach bedside-manner bel-air Best of Best urgent care Best urgent care VA beach best-for-families Bestof Best-Of best-of-2019 Best-of-2020 best-of-award best-of-awards bestofcountytimes Best-of-Jewish-times-winner Best-Urgent-Care Best-urgent-Care-Bowie-Blade-News best-workplace bethlehem Biking Black-Friday blog Blood-Donation BLS Blueberries blue-cross blue-shield Camping capital-gazette careers CDC children with disabilities Cholesterol Circadian-Rhythm Cold cold-prevention colon-cancer concussion coronavirus covid-19 COVID-19-Test CPR cramp-prevention Dehydration dental-health Depression Dermatitis Diabetes Drowning drug screening Dry-Skin eastern-pa easton Eating-Disorder Eating-Disorders employees employment Ergonomics E-Scooter exercise eye-health face-mask fall fall-sports Farmer's-Market First-Aid Fitness Flu flu-season flu-shots food-storage food-swaps football for moms for-moms for-parents fredericksburg free-play Gastrointestinal General Generation-X-Health gift-ideas Good-Fats Halloween hand foot and mouth hand-foot-and-mouth Hand-Washing Hanukkah harrisburg headache Head-Lice Healthcare Health-History health-symptoms healthy-eating Healthy-Living healthy-swaps Heart-Disease heart-health Heat Heat-Exhaustion Heat-Safety hiking holiday Holidays horizonBCBS horizon-blue-cross horizon-blue-shield horizon-insurance Humidifier hydration Illnesses inclusivity inclusivity-&-accessability injury-prevention Insect-Stings insurance jetlag jobs Kidney Kwanzaa lehigh-valley life-support-class Lightning maryland Mask meal-prep Meatless-Monday mechanicsburg medical-records melanoma memory-retention Men's-Health Mental-Health Migrane millennial Millennials montco montco-pa montgomery-county montgomery-county-pa Movember MRSA new jersey new-center new-jersey new-year New-Year's northern-va northern-virginia nova nurtition Nutrition Obesity occupational health ocean-safety osteoporosis outdoors Paddle-Sports PALS parent tips Parenting Parenting-Tips parent-tips patient-first pennsylvania pets philadelphia philly physicals poison-ivy poison-prevention Power-Outage Pregnancy Probiotics Productivity Protein pumpkin recipe recipes registration reicpes resolutions richmond River running safety safety-tips Seasonal-Affective-Disorder services shin-splings sick kid sickness-prevention simply-the-best skin sleep Smoke-Detector smoking Snow soccer sore-throat south-jersey sports Sports-Injuries Sports-Physicals spotsylvania Spring spring-cleaning St.-Patrick's-Day stafford Stitches strep Strep-Throat stress stress-managment Stroke summer summer-sports Sunburn Sunglasses Sun-Safety Sunscreen Swimmer's-ear swimming TBI Teal-Pumpkin Teething Thyroid tick tips-for-parents top-physicians top-workplace traveling-tips travel-tips Travel-Vaccines unitedhealthcare urgent-care Urinary-health vacation vaccinations vaccines Valentine's-Day Valentines-Day Video Vitamin-D volunteering walking washington-dc washington-post washington-post-2019 Water-Sports Weight-Lifting wellness Winter Workouts Yard-Work Yearly-Physical