When Stephanie Van Doren first visited Mayo Clinic’s campus in Florida, she was seeking care for digestive issues. But after hearing Van Doren’s family medical history and completing a clinical evaluation, gastroenterologist Timothy Woodward, M.D. recognized that she may also be at risk for a potentially fatal heart condition, aortic dissection.
Genetic testing confirmed that risk and provided lifesaving information to Van Doren and her family.
“Because Ms. Van Doren knew and shared her family medical history, we were able to identify and diagnose her risk for a hereditary condition that could have been life-threatening if undetected,” says Dr. Woodward. “Working with our genetic counselors and cardiologists, she and her family had genetic testing and are now receiving individualized care, tailored to their needs.”
Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, Nov. 28, is National Family Health History Day. As you spend time with relatives over the holiday, take time to learn more about your family medical history – it could uncover important information to help you manage your health.
When evaluating a patient’s risk for disease, physicians and genetic counselors will ask for health information for three generations of an individual’s family. Build your own family medical history by talking with these family members:
Ask family members about these topics:
With information about your family’s medical history, your physician can determine what steps need to be taken to maintain your health, including screening tests or lifestyle changes that could help prevent any diseases that you may be more susceptible to developing.
At the same time, remember to share information about your own health conditions with your family – the results could be lifesaving.
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Tags: #aortic dissection, #family medical history, #hereditary diseases, #Stephanie Van Doren, center for individualized medicine, Genetic Testing, genomics, Heart Disease, mayo clinic, Precision Medicine, Timothy Woodward, undiagnosed diseases