Ed Day, Rockland County Executive

November 24, 2015
Contact: Scott Salotto (845) 638-5645
               Patricia Schnabel Ruppert, DO, MPH, DABFM, FAAFP (845) 364-2512


Time to gather together and also a good time to share your family health history

NEW CITY, NY - - Thanksgiving is almost here – time to gather with your family and share turkey, stuffing and all the rest! Rockland County Executive Ed Day and County Health Commissioner Dr. Patricia Schnabel Ruppert encourage residents to also use this time to talk with your relatives and collect your family health history. It is a useful tool for understanding your health risks and preventing disease in yourself and your close relatives. Everyone in your family can benefit from knowing your family's health history and sharing this information with his or her doctor.

Don't know how to start? The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) suggests the following steps:

1.  Write down the names of relatives you need to include in your history. The most important relatives to talk to for your family health history are your parents, brothers and sisters, and your children. Next, you may want to talk to your grandparents, uncles and aunts, nieces and nephews, and any half-brothers or half-sisters. It is also helpful to talk to great uncles and aunts, as well as cousins.

2.  Ask questions, including:

  • Do you have any chronic diseases, such as heart disease or diabetes, or health conditions such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol?
  • Have you had any other serious diseases, such as cancer or stroke?
  • How old were you when you developed these diseases?
  • Also ask about any childhood health problems or birth defects they may have had.
  • For relatives who have died, ask about their age at death and cause of death.
3. Write this information down, update it from time to time, keep it in a safe place for future reference, and share it with your relatives and your health care provider.

Your family health history can give you an idea of your risk for common diseases like heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. "Your health care provider then can review all of the factors and recommend specific tests or treatment plans to prevent or delay disease," said Dr. Ruppert.

Visit these websites for more information and tools to help you collect your family health history: and