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Family History

​Family History

updated: June 24, 2022


A family history, as related to medicine, is a record of the diseases and health conditions of an individual and that person’s biological family members, both living and deceased. A family history can help determine whether someone has an increased genetic risk of having or developing certain diseases, disorders or conditions. It is often recorded by drawing a pedigree (a family tree) that illustrates the relationships among individuals.



When you think about your family's genealogy, you often think about past generations and maybe even future generations. When you come to talk to a healthcare provider, instead of asking you for your genealogy, they're going to ask you for your family history. And what they mean by family history is to get information about people's health, both in relatives who are no longer living, living individuals who are closely and less closely related to you, so that they can help you predict risks to your own health and perhaps even to your future offspring.