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Family History Checklist: Questions for Relatives

Medically Reviewed by Jennifer Robinson, MD on June 17, 2020

Learn your family's health history. It can help your doctor choose the screening tests that might be right for you.

It's most important to talk to your parents, brothers and sisters. But you might also want to talk to your grandparents, aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews, half-brothers and half-sisters, and cousins. Ask questions like:

  • How old are you?
  • Do you or did anyone in our family have any long-term health problems, like heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease, bleeding disorder, or lung disease?
  • Do you or did anyone in our family have any health issues like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or asthma?
  • Does anyone in our family have any other serious illnesses, such as cancer, stroke, Alzheimer's/dementia, genetic birth disorder, or osteoporosis?
  • How old were they when they were diagnosed?
  • Are their illnesses under control? How are/were they treated?

Also ask questions about other relatives, such as:

  • What countries did our relatives come from?
  • Did our late relatives have health problems? What were the issues and when were they diagnosed?
  • How old were they when they died?
  • What were the reasons for their deaths?
WebMD Medical Reference

Sources

SOURCES:

CDC: "Gather and Share Your Family Health History."

National Institutes of Health Senior Health: "Creating a Family Health History."

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services: "Surgeon General's Family Health History Initiative."

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