Creating a Family Health History

Frequently Asked Questions

10. What questions should I ask relatives about their health?

Here are important questions to ask your blood relatives.

  • What is your age or date of birth?
  • Do you have any chronic conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, asthma, or high blood pressure?
  • Have you had any other serious illnesses, such as cancer or stroke? (If you know of any specific diseases or illnesses in your family, ask about them, too.)
  • How old were you when you developed these illnesses?
  • Have you or your partner had any problems with pregnancies or childbirth?

Other questions to ask your blood relatives include

  • What countries did our family come from? (Knowing this can help because some heritable diseases occur more often in certain population groups. Also, different diets and living environments can influence the risks of developing certain diseases.)
  • Has anyone in the family had birth defects, learning problems, or developmental disabilities, such as Down's syndrome?
  • What illnesses did our late parents or grandparents have? How old were they when they died? What caused their deaths?