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How can knowing my family health history help lower my risk of disease?


You can’t change your genes, but you can change behaviors that affect your health, such as smoking, inactivity, and poor eating habits. People with a family health history of chronic disease may have the most to gain from making lifestyle changes. In many cases, making these changes can reduce your risk of disease even if the disease runs in your family.

Another change you can make is to participate in screening tests, such as mammogram and colorectal cancer screening, for early detection of disease. People who have a family health history of a chronic disease may benefit the most from screening tests that look for risk factors or early signs of disease. Finding disease early, before symptoms appear, can mean better health in the long run. That’s why it’s important for your health care provider to know your family health history as well.

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Last Updated: 04/21/2008