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    The Importance of Keeping Family Health Records

    By Kristen Houghton     

    Whenever you go to a new doctor or dentist, it seems that at least thirty minutes of your time is devoted to filling out a form on your general health. The problem is that too many people donít really know a great deal about their own bodies and their health. Many things are forgotten or put out of mind. It would be great if this wonderful physical creation we call a human body came with a care manual complete with a section for health records, but it doesnít and so we have to create our own.

    A health record for each member of your family is vital. It should be kept in a safe place with other important family documents. Vaccinations, allergies, diseases, blood work, and medical tests are an important part of the information that should be kept. You should also add all medications and prescriptions for each person in your family.

    Besides writing your own notes about your familyís health, make sure to request copies of your charts from your health care practitioner. Donít be hesitant about asking for them. This is information about your health and, legally, it is yours for the asking.

    Health care practitioners are required by law to give you copies of all your health records. Physicians, or anyone acting on their behalf, can not legally deny you copies of all services rendered and procedures done. You, or your health insurance company, have already paid for them and they are yours. It is the same with Medicare and Medicaid; copies of your records must be made available to you. No fee should be charged for copies issued to you for any services you receive. If, however, you change doctors and request copies of your health history be sent to your new doctor, some offices may charge a small fee.

    Keeping accurate up-to-date records is important if you are referred to other doctors. All information that you can give not only helps them in their diagnosis but can also help them advise you concerning any possible health dangers. Even your dentist should be aware of any and all health problems.

    Before a routine procedure at my dentistís, I mentioned that my doctor was sending me for a test to see if I had mitral valve prolapse, more commonly known as a heart murmur. My dentist immediately told me that, if I did have the condition, I would need to take antibiotics before any dental procedure to avoid any possibly dangerous infections. He preferred to re-schedule my appointment until after my test, rather than take a risk.

    Having health records is also a good way to be aware of conditions which may be inherited or to which you are predisposed. This information can then be passed on to your children. It is a good way of protecting your family not only now but in the future as well.

    Written by Kristen HoughtonRate this article:

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