It’s no secret that knowing your family history, an understanding of chronic diseases past within your family, can help doctors prevent heart disease.
Heart disease claims the lives of 1 in 3 women each year, yet it’s 80 percent preventable. One risk factor that cannot be prevented is family history.
According to a recent study in the American Journal of Medical Genetics, 95.7 percent of study respondents considered knowledge of family history important to their personal health. The startling truth, though, is that only 36.9 percent reported actively collecting health information from their relatives to develop a family history.
Heart attack survivor and member of Go Red For Women’s 2015-2016 class of “Real Women,” Meliah Jefferson, is a living reminder of the value of knowing the details of your family history and taking action. “Knowing about your family history is great,” Meliah says. “But you have to do something about it” to prevent heart disease.
Action, in this case, is learning about your family history of heart disease and stroke, and scheduling a Well-Woman Visit.
A Well-Woman Visit is an annual physical and discussion about your health that all women should get to help identify serious health concerns before they become life-threatening – such as heart disease.
Well-Woman Visits will be tailored to age, family history, past health history and need for preventive screenings. Some services – such as checking blood pressure, height and weight, and temperature – will be provided every year.
However, other services may only be provided as needed, based on medical and family history.
The exam will also screen for other health problems that are unique to women including mammograms for breast cancer, pap smears for cervical cancer, prenatal care, bone-mass measurements for osteoporosis; plus “genderneutral”
screenings and services such as colon cancer screening, obesity screening and counseling, and shots to prevent flu, tetanus, and pneumonia.