How to Support Your Child's Health When Chronic Disease Runs in Your Family

How to Support Your Child's Health When Chronic Disease Runs in Your Family

A family history of chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, cancer, autoimmune diseases, osteoporosis, and dementia heightens your risk of developing them, too. Parents who have a family history of certain chronic diseases need to put greater emphasis on keeping their child as healthy as possible. 

As a functional and family medicine practice, Monarque Health and Wellness in Ashland, Oregon, is in the ideal position to help families navigate family history-related risk factors. After all, our genes don’t have the final say when it comes to chronic disease. 

You can offset your child’s risk of developing a chronic disease, even if you have a strong family history for that particular disease. Monarque Health and Wellness provides comprehensive, specialized pediatric care to help children and adolescents stay healthy and optimize their well-being. 

If a chronic disease runs in your family

Why are certain chronic diseases sometimes linked to your family history? Sometimes it’s because people within the same family have similar lifestyles. At other times, their genes make them more susceptible to developing these diseases.

However, our environment and other factors influence how our genes express themselves, which means our genes aren’t our destiny. For instance, in one study, researchers determined that genetics alone accounted for only 2% of the family history risk for Type 2 diabetes. 

Since other factors come into play, you need to take steps to strengthen your child’s health and well-being. 

Adopting a healthy lifestyle provides the best protection against many chronic diseases, including high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol, and starting in childhood helps your child develop healthy habits that can last a lifetime. Here are our tips on strengthening their health against chronic disease. 

Know your family history

Understanding your family's health history can provide valuable information about potential health risks for your child. Talk to your family members, including grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins, to learn about any chronic diseases that run in your family.

Regular check-ups and screenings

Bringing your child in for regular check-ups can identify potential health issues early on and provide opportunities for preventive measures. Your child's doctor may recommend screenings or tests based on their age and family history.

Maintain a healthy diet

Eating a nutritious and balanced diet is essential for overall health and can play a significant role in preventing chronic diseases. 

Encourage your child to eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins, and limit their intake of processed and sugary foods. What they eat now has an impact on their health risks as an adult. 

Encourage physical activity

Regular exercise is crucial for maintaining a healthy weight, reducing stress, and preventing chronic diseases. Encourage your child to engage in physical activity for at least 60 minutes a day, such as playing outside, participating in sports, or dancing.

Ensure proper sleep

Sleep is essential for growth and development and plays a critical role in maintaining overall health. Aim for your child to get 9-11 hours of sleep each night, depending on their age. Establish a consistent sleep routine and create a relaxing environment in their bedroom.

Communicate with your child's health care provider

Share your family's health history with your child's health care provider, and ask what additional steps you can take to protect your child's health. Your Monarque Health and Wellness professional can offer guidance on managing potential risk factors, and may recommend additional screenings or tests.

Seek support

Living with a family history of chronic disease can be stressful and overwhelming, and it's essential to seek support. Talk to friends and family members who can provide emotional support and practical assistance. 

Consider joining a support group for families affected by a specific chronic disease. Don't hesitate to ask for help from health care professionals who can give you guidance on managing the condition and reducing the risk of complications.

Our team is here to help your family maintain optimal health in every way possible. 

To schedule a visit to discuss your concerns about your child’s risk for chronic diseases, contact us at 541-326-4777 and our pediatric coordinator can assist you in setting up an appointment with a Monarque Health and Wellness Center provider today. 

You can also send us a message here on our website to schedule a visit.

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