April 27, 2017 – History Best


Anchor lead: Family history may be key to prescribing healthy interventions, Elizabeth Tracey reports

Your family history can help your physician to easily recognize some of your health risks and discuss things to lower your risk, without the need for tests that delay that discussion. That’s the conclusion of a Johns Hopkins study by Mariana Lazo and colleagues.

Lazo: in the US population the prevalence of family history is quite high. Almost one-third of the population have a family history of diabetes. Almost 6% have a family history of cardiovascular disease, and 6.5 have family history of both.  :15

Even when family history was present, the study showed many people still engaged in risky behaviors.

Lazo: And yet, those with family history were more likely to be overweight or obese, to be current smokers, and we did not find any association with physical activity.   :11

Lazo says patients can easily recall diabetes or heart issues in their relatives, and that gives physicians a window to talk about diet, exercise, and weight loss. So the message to doctors is clear: asking about family history is a must, and patients should volunteer these facts if they’re not asked. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.