This Thanksgiving will be different than almost any other. With the pandemic still raging, many people are skipping in-person family gatherings. A recent survey commissioned by 23andMe indicates that fewer than half of residents in the U.S. will gather with family this holiday.
But whether you celebrate in-person or virtually, you can still take the time to appreciate what you have and to share it in some way with family or friends. You can also take the opportunity of either a virtual or in-person family gathering to do something proactive about your health.
In the United States, November 26th is also National Family Health History Day, a time to take stock of you and your family’s health history. It sounds a bit odd, but a virtual or in-person family gathering is a perfect time to ask questions and discuss family health history. Family health history is information that can be invaluable for you and your family. It’s information that you can use now and in the future.
Family health history is considered a cornerstone in anyone’s medical record. Knowing about your parents’ or grandparents’ or siblings’ health adds another dimension to what you already know about yourself. This knowledge raises awareness about conditions that run in your family. It gives you and your doctor another layer of information for helping to keep you well.
The problem is that many of us are don’t have a complete picture of our family’s health history. That’s why each year, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) encourages people to use Thanksgiving to ask questions of relatives and record some of your family’s health history. Hence the creation of the National Family Health History Day.
Family Health History Tree
The CDC offers tools to help you and your family record some of this information, but so does 23andMe. Earlier this year, we launched a new Family Health History Tree. The new tool, available for Health + Ancestry Service customers in the U.S. and Canada, can help you record and track this information.
Much like any family tree, this one offers a visual representation of how you connect to different relatives. But this tree adds the ability to include medical conditions, offering you a visual record of current and past health issues for you and your close relatives. 23andMe’s Family Health History Tree gives you a place to record information you can use to manage your health.