One of the side benefits of genealogy is that you uncover family health history in all those family papers and records. Keep track of your ancestors’ illnesses and causes of death, and bring them up at your next visit to the doctor.
These are the most common conditions that tend to run in families:
- Heart disease: coronary atherosclerosis, high blood pressure, hyperlipidemia
- Cancer: retinoblastomas, colon, stomach, endometrium, lung, bladder, breast, skin (melanoma)
- Neurological illnesses and disorders: Alzheimer’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease), Gaucher’s disease, Huntington’s disease, multiple sclerosis, neurofibromatosis, Parkinson’s disease, Tay-Sachs disease, Tourette’s syndrome
- Mental illnesses and behavioral conditions: alcoholism, anxiety disorders, attention deficit disorder, eating disorders, manic depression, schizophrenia
- Other genetic diseases: cleft lip and cleft palate, clubfoot, cystic fibrosis, Duchenne muscular dystrophy, galactosemia, hemophilia, Hurler’s syndrome, Marfan’s syndrome, phenylketonuria, sickle cell disease, Thalassemia
- Medical conditions with genetic links: arthritis, asthma, baldness, migraine headaches, obesity, periodontal disease, speech disorders