Family Medicine, Uncomfortable life saving questions

Doctors are not gossiping: Why your old Health History Matters now?



Having regular checkups can help practitioners establishing a baseline understanding of your health. On these encounters, your physician collects some information about you. If there are problems later on, they can often refer to your medical history for clues about the diagnosis and personalised management, which might save you a lot of trouble down the road. But what exactly is a Health History?

Formally is a collection of information about a person’s health.

Our Health is the result of the biological, psychological and social balance in good interaction with the environment, and we are a connected unit where what happens in your head matters to your foot; that’s why the personal medical history may include information about allergies, illnesses, surgeries, immunisations, and results of physical exams, tests, and screenings. It may also recollect data about medicines taken and health habits, such as diet and exercise. It might record aspects even from your birth date or from the period that you were in your mother’s womb.

The also called personal health record gathers some private information about your sexual behaviour, social conditions, job, a family situation that could seem to you uncomfortable and highly personal but believe me when I say that all of these matters to understand your health status; but let’s check it out step by step.

Personal data

Undeniably your age or genetic gender determine your predisposition to have certain health conditions. As we age, the risk for many diseases increases, so we are not asking about it with the desire of giving you a birthday present. Don’t forget I say genetic gender; you can’t lose sight of the fact that transgender patients could have problems concerning the sex with which they were born.

Birth details

Even if most of the effects of preterm birth are seen at childhood, some studies claim that in persons who were a result of premature birth,  the overall evidence indicates that this is associated with modestly increased mortality in early to mid-adulthood; also the incidence of diseases like Hypertension or growth and intellectual or learning development are somehow affected, prematurity and extended hospital stays were related to poorer health, life and job satisfaction in adulthood, also relationship dissatisfaction. Of course, there is genetics, and then we have individualities and a particular environment.

Family History

A complete record includes three generations of relatives, including children, brothers and sisters, parents, aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews, grandparents, and cousins. Families have many factors in common, including their genes, environment, and lifestyle. Together, these factors can give clues to medical conditions that may run in the family. By noticing patterns of disorders among relatives, healthcare professionals can determine whether an individual, other family members, or future generations may be at an increased risk of developing a particular condition.

Personal Illnesses

Diseases from birthdate could be communicable like Chickenpox or may be chronic like Asthma. Mental Health-related disorders are also included. Periodic conditions without a specific diagnosis like recurrent lumbar pain or persistent headaches are significant too.


It’s always good to inform your treating doctor if you take any medication to avoid interaction with a new one or ensure that an indication given will not do any predictable harm.


Surgeries may be why you have that abdominal hernia now. This history helps to exclude a diagnosis. For example:  when you have abdominal pain but no Appendix because it was surgically removed during childhood, doctors immediately look for another cause. It may also indicate that you haven’t reacted to an anaesthetic before.

Blood Group and Transfusions

It is essential to say if you had had blood troubles before or haemorrhages, or severe anaemia that required transfusion and if you did react in a bad way.


Any fracture, accident or physical aggression suffered might be the cause that you have post-traumatic pain now. Sometimes the origin is on trauma from childhood, but now that we have more “accumulated youth”, the sequels are starting to bother us.

Toxic Habits

The link between legal or illegal substance use or abuse and diseases like cancer, infertility or mental disorder is demonstrated.

Food and medicine allergies

To avoid reactions to treatments or to exclude and to substitute certain items from a diet.

Life habits

Includes sleep habits, recreation, activities timing, etc., that may indicate stress or anxiety.

Psychosocial history

Includes Patient identification and personal data, Conditions of the interview, Birth and development, Family environment, School History, Labor History, Psychosexual and Marriage History, Interests, religious, philosophical and political attitude, and How do you feel regarding your current health status.

Whenever you suffer a sickness, you can’t magically separate your past health history from what is happening now or even with how your body is expected to react; there is always a link between the answer to those uncomfortable questions and the indications that your physician will give you.

Growing a good relationship with your practitioner based on the universal variables of trust and honesty may guarantee positive outcomes when dealing with health issued.


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