Newsweek Magazine has an article that should be required reading by all genealogists. After all, we are the ones who keep the family records. Not all of us realize the power that we have. It is not too dramatic to state that genealogists have the power to save or prolong our own lives and possibly the lives of our loved ones, all by simple record keeping and analysis.
In the Newsweek article, Dr. Howard Lewine, chief editor for Internet publishing at Harvard Health Publications at Harvard Medical School, writes:
Each of us inherits a unique set of health risks from our ancestors. For some diseases, family history is defined by a single scrap of DNA. Anyone cursed with the gene for Huntington's disease will eventually suffer the symptoms, but hereditary risks are rarely so straightforward. Most medical conditions involve multiple genes, which get passed along in different combinations. As a general rule, having a first-degree relative with heart disease, asthma, osteoporosis or type 2 diabetes doubles your own risk. When two or more cases occur in the same immediate family, the odds increase by fourfold or more. The same pattern holds for cancers of the breast, colon and prostate. Yet none of these conditions is inevitable, even in people at high risk. With a detailed knowledge of your family medical history, you can often take the steps needed to protect yourself.
If you discover that a serious health problem runs in your family, don't despair. By eating well, exercising and monitoring your intake of essential nutrients and vitamins, you can offset and sometimes even neutralize your genetic susceptibilities.
This is a "must read" article at http://msnbc.msn.com/id/7529182/site/newsweek.