It is important to be familiar with your family's complete medical history. If you are not, contact a family member who would know today, and start piecing it together. It'll give you and your doctor a much better picture of your overall health, and it can play a huge role in preventing and diagnosing illness.
A lot of common illnesses and conditions have a known genetic link — that means it could be passed through your family's bloodline on to you. And that's why knowing your history could be beneficial, and why it's important for you to be aware of the following hereditary medical conditions.
Here are 23 of the most common illnesses that have a genetic component:
- Heart disease, such as coronary artery disease, an irregular heartbeat, mitral valve prolapse or sudden death from a heart condition
- Some cancers, especially breast, ovarian and prostate cancers
- Diabetes, particularly Type 2 diabetes
- Chromosomal disorders or birth defects, such as cleft lip and palate
- Allergies to both environmental factors and medications
- Glaucoma, blindness, macular degeneration and other eye conditions
- Kidney disease, including polycystic kidneys
- Mental illness, such as depression, bipolar disorder or schizophrenia
- Infertility or miscarriage
- Learning disabilities and developmental delays
- Blood disorders, such as hemophilia, thalassemia and sickle cell anemia
- Metabolic disorders, such as phenylketonuria, homocystinuria and tyrosinemia
- Bone and joint disorders, such as osteoporosis or arthritis
- Gastrointestinal disorders, such as inflammatory bowel disease
- Female reproductive disorders, such as polycystic ovary disease, endometriosis, fibroids and irregular menses
- Sudden unexplained death, especially at a young age
If your family has a history of any of the above conditions, make sure you tell your doctor. The more information your doctor has, the better he or she can treat you, and take any preventative measures, if necessary.