Karen Pallarito has a suggestion: after you and your family have finished your second helping of mashed potatoes and gravy this Thanksgiving, you might want to take Grandpa aside and ask him about his cholesterol.
Writing for Forbes, Pallarito points out that U.S. health officials are urging you to ask questions: not to be nosy, but because it could have a direct impact on your own health: All Americans, they say, should begin tracing their medical roots this holiday season. Asking relatives to help fill in the blanks of your family medical history could be one of the most important things you do to predict your risk for developing such chronic conditions as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and cancer, they said.
A recent survey by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 96 percent of Americans believe that knowing their family history is important to their health. Even so, only a third have tried to collect the data and organize it in a useful way.
You can read more about this at http://www.forbes.com/lifestyle/health/feeds/hscout/2004/11/08/hscout522236.html