Your family history is important to your health
Did you know that doctors and genetic counselors use a special pedigree diagram to show family history, relationships and medical conditions?
Here’s an example using the Kardashian family. The diagram shows the dates of birth, the sex (male square, female circle) and marital and sibling relationships. A red line through a symbol is the standard way to indicate that that person has died and their cause of death is given. A filled-in circle indicates that an individual is affected by some disease or medical condition – Kim and her mother Kris both have the skin condition called psoriasis.
More Celebrity Family Trees
Lady Gaga‘s family tree shows that her aunt Joanne died from the autoimmune disease SLE or lupus at a young age. Last year, Lady Gaga announced that she herself has “borderline” lupus.
Standard pedigree symbols are shown in the diagram to the right.
General, We’re Just Following Orders
Dr. Regina Benjamin, the U.S. Surgeon General (left), recommends that everyone create a Family Health Portrait, keep it updated and take a copy for your doctor the next time you go in for a check-up.
So what runs in your family? Should you be worried about it? Are there any things you can do to prevent a disease or condition from developing? Are there any screening tests that your doctor recommends?
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