It Really Is Your Parents’ Fault

November 5, 2014

Family genetics

 

As a parent—or as a child—you know how easy it is to sometimes blame parents for everything that goes wrong. Curly hair, math deficiencies, car ran out of gas. It’s mom or dad’s fault. When it comes to some health issues, genetics may be to blame. Lifestyle or environmental factors may not be able to overcome what your parents passed on to you via their genes.

Family get-togethers during the upcoming holidays are a good time to chart your family health tree. Finding out more about your family history may impact your overall health, including orthopaedic illnesses.

“Family history is one of the most underused but powerful tools in understanding your health,” says Dr. Clinton Howard. “You may be at risk for osteoarthritis if one of your parents suffers from it. However, there are things you can do to mitigate those risks.”

The US surgeon general has a free website, www.familyhistory.hhs.gov, that helps you to create a family health history and share it electronically with your relatives and doctors.