Having a family history means that a person has one or more blood relatives with a certain health problem. A doctor can look at a person's family history to get some idea of the person's risk for that health problem.
Blood relatives include relatives who are alive and those who have died. They may be:
- First-degree relatives (parents, sisters, brothers, and children).
- Second-degree relatives (aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and grandparents).
- Third-degree relatives (first cousins).
Some family histories are stronger than others. How strong a family history is depends on:
- How closely related a person is to the relatives with the health problem.
- How many relatives had or have the health problem.
Current as of: November 22, 2021
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Rakesh K. Pai MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology & Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine & Robert A. Kloner MD, PhD - Cardiology