What is the importance of family health?

Family is used to describe a group of people related by blood, marriage, adoption, or choice. A family is the basic unit if a society and the first agent of socialization. The family environment is the first foundation a child has as he/she grows. Any individual can be traced back to a family and is affected by mainly his genetics and environment.

Family health is very important is several ways:

The health of a family affects an individual’s health. Genetically, an individual is composed of inherited traits from members of both sides of his family. This means that it is important to know the genetic history of a family and presence or absence of any health traits. Some diseases for example are associated with a strong link to the family health history. Examples are Hypertension, Diabetes, some cancers like certain types of breast and prostate cancer, as well as colon cancers among others.

Family health is also important in the marital choices of a person, especially if procreation is desired. Based on the genetic history of the health of a family, some marriage matches are better avoided. For example, a family with a health history of hemophilia, would do good to avoid another with the same family health issue to avoid having children with bleeding issues. Also families with the sickle cell trait, a blood disease that causes anemia and frequent painful bone crises are better advised to avoid mates with same trait if they are interested in having children.

Family health also plays a key role in the life of a person as an unhealthy family has consequences that will affect the individual. For example, a family with health challenges like obesity and hereditary diseases will cause a strain on the healthy family members and may result in straining of finances and even psychological problems like depression and anxiety.

The health of a family sometimes is influenced by the behavior of the family towards issues concerning health and health living. This means that an individual is at the mercy of health choices often made by primary care givers like parents and guardians in their early life, and these decisions will often affect the health of an individual.

What factors affect family health?

Family health is affected by several factors. Apart from the genetic make up and environment of a family, other issues that affect their health are availability of finances for health care, the location of the family as healthcare and healthy living is usually more difficult to access in certain under served parts of the world. The political situation of the place also matters as family health is worse in places ravaged by war and turmoil. Other factors are religion, lifestyle and beliefs of other family members. These are called the social determinants of health.

Who handles family health issues?

Family health issues are best handled by the family doctor or family physician. Such a doctor has a good record of the family health history, provides healthcare for all the members of the family as they get older and pass through different stages of life. They provide preventive, promotive, as well as curative services for the family.