National Family Health History Day Date in the current year: November 28, 2024

National Family Health History Day National Family Health History Day is observed in the United States on the fourth Thursday of November, coinciding with Thanksgiving Day. It was created to raise awareness of the importance of knowing your family health history.

The term family health history, or simply family history, refers to information about disorders of the patient’s direct blood relatives (parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, siblings and half-siblings, children, and nieces and nephews). Accurate knowledge of it can help physicians identify a predisposition to developing certain illnesses such as autoimmune disorders, some cancers, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and mental disorders.

Why is knowing your family history important? While you cannot change the genes you inherited, you can take precautions to prevent the diseases that run in your family if they are preventable or detect them early to start treatment. Knowing your family history will help your healthcare provider advice you on screenings you might need and provide other preventive care.

National Family Health History Day was inaugurated in 2004 by U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona. The reason behind observing it on the same day as Thanksgiving Day is that on Thanksgiving Day families usually get together, which creates a perfect opportunity to discuss family health history and health issues hat affect multiple family members.

The best way to participate in National Family Health History Day is to collect your family health history. Start with writing down the names of your closest blood relatives and talking to them about health conditions they have or had and when they were diagnosed. Ask questions to encourage them to provide as much information as they can; don’t forget to ask about the age and cause of death of your deceased blood relatives, especially if their deaths were sudden.

List your relatives’ health conditions, age at diagnosis, and other relevant information next to each name on your list. Don’t forget to add information about your own diseases and health conditions. Once you’ve written your family health history down, share it with other family members so the whole family can benefit from it. You should also keep in mind that family health history requires regular updates, and someone in the family should be responsible for doing it.

To make it easier for American families to document their health history, the Office of the U.S. Surgeon General created My Family Health Portrait, a website that allows users to record, save and update their family health history, share it with their relatives and healthcare providers, and learn about their risks for health conditions that can run in families.

National Family Health History Day is also meant to remind Americans that simply knowing your family health history is not enough – it is important to act on it. If there are diseases that run in the family, you should talk to your primary healthcare provider about when to start screening for them and what other steps you should take to prevent the disease or catch it early.

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National Family Health History Day, observances in the US, healthcare-related observances, family health history