Thursday, November 9, 2006

Have you done your family health history?

One of the "Round Tuit" tasks I've not done is to make a Family Health History. Until now!

The "My Family Health Portrait" home page is at This is part of the U.S. Surgeon General's Family History Initiative. The web page says:

My Family Health Portrait allows you to create a personalized family health history report from any computer with an Internet connection and an up-to-date Web browser. Information you provide creates a drawing of your family tree and a chart of your family health history. Both the chart and the drawing can be printed and shared with your family members or your healthcare professional. Used in consultation with your healthcare professional, your family health history can help you review your family's health history and develop disease prevention strategies that are right for you.

New users can click on Create a Family History to begin creating a personalized family health history. Returning users can click on Load a Saved Family History to edit or update an existing personalized family health history.

I created my family health history, as best I know it, and included my brothers, parents, grandparents, and aunts and uncles. The program permits nieces/nephews, half-siblings, cousins, etc. also.

You need to know something about each individual and their health history. If they are deceased, the program asks for the cause of death and their age at death. If they had one or more diseases (heart disease, stroke, diabetes, colon cancer, breast cancer and ovarian cancer are the default choices, and you can add more), the program asks for their age range when they incurred the disease.

After inputting all of the data for each person, the program draws a family tree chart showing each person in the database and notes the cause of death and incidence of each disease.

Finally, you can download the file to your computer hard drive and print it out on your printer using Adobe Reader. The web site says it does not keep your data online.

You can go back and edit individuals, and can go back later and add more or edit the information, using the file saved on your hard drive.

This was a program very user-friendly, and it will be useful to many people.

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