Be Your Family's Medical Sleuth

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An important step to a lifetime of better medical care is creating a family health history based on the collective memories of your family members. Your physicians need and want this information, which can often help them get you to a faster diagnosis and treatment.

In fact, physicians may be the only professionals who are regularly asked to render judgment without having all the information they need. By that I mean: facts about your and your closest relatives' medical histories.

So take the time to be a family medical sleuth. Did any grandparents, aunts, or uncles suffer from serious diseases or unusual diagnoses? Are there unsolved health mysteries in your family? Any heart disease, cancer, diabetes, or other issues that your physicians need to know about? 

At a minimum, plot the medical problems of parents and siblings — the closer the relation, the more significant the information — and provide the document to your relatives so they can share it with their physicians too.

Here's a helpful interview sheet that will get you started with questions to ask. 

See The Patient’s Playbook, Chapter Three: "Three Things You Can Do Right Now to Be Better Prepared" for tips on how to use this information to get better results every time you interact with doctors and hospitals.