U.S. Surgeon General Stresses Importance of Family Medical History

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When your not piled around the table this holiday, the U.S. Surgeon General has something to keep you occupied. Richard Carmona is asking you to take the time to catalog your family's medical history.

"We have to make sure that people and practitioners understand the value of family history. Family history can save your life, that information is critical and we don't use it enough," said Carmona.

Bryan couple, Bob and Linda Allen agree. Bob's dad passed away at a young age from a stroke. He makes sure doctors closely monitor his blood pressure.

"Generations about our age have probably not done the job to record those in some type of written format to pass on to our children and it's something we need to do," said Bob.

Scott and White family medicine doctor, Robert Wiprud said you should know the health conditions of more then just your parents.

"Father, father's parents, so grandparents side on the paternal side, mother, grandparents on the mother's side. You want to know about brothers and sisters because that's in the first line of relative and then any children that they may have," said Wiprud.

Spend a little time sitting in front of the computer this holiday because there is a tool you should know about. The Surgeon General and the National Human Genome Research Institute has created something called "My Family Health Profile."

It's a program that you can download from a government website. The program is easy to use and allows you to enter in family medical data. You can then print it out and take it to your doctor.

"One is it gives us a chance to maybe change that persons future so they don't have to fall into their family history and the second thing is it helps us in deciding when somebody has a symptom whether or not it's likely to be a serious illness," said Wiprud.

So in between filling your bellies this holiday, you might want to consider filling out your family medical history. You'll probably be thankful down the road that you did.

To download the program go to http://www.hhs.gov/familyhistory