1. Benchmarking Your Family Health

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1. Benchmarking Your Family Health

In order to make a sound decision on new actions, you must first understand what the current state of your health, including what health risks or poor behaviors can be improved.
You could call this the “beginning balance” in your checkbook. There are many ways to begin this process, through your company health risk assessment, through your insurer's web-based information system, and more. A simplified snapshot can be developed right here:
Know your health history. The best place to start is at the beginning—take a close look at the genetic blueprint that came with you. Your family history has an effect on your overall risk and your potential to develop disease. You can't change your age or race, but you can watch for indicators that your health assets (your body and symptoms) are changing and take direct action to improve.
Begin the assessment by answering a few family questions, listed below. If you don't know the answers, it's a great time to have the conversation with family members who may have that information. These will begin to give you a picture of your risk for future disease.
1. Mother/Father Still alive? If so, is she/he receiving care for any diseases? If deceased, what did she or die of, and at what age?
2. If your grandparents are no longer living, what caused their death? Do you know if they were being treated for any other diseases?
3. Have you lost any siblings—at what age, and from what disease?
4. What other diseases run in your family? Who had them, and at what age? As an example, a younger brother may have been diagnosed with prostate cancer that is now cured. Still, it's important to note that the disease has occurred.



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