Know Your Health and Your Family’s Health History

As you become an adult, you will probably be taking more responsibility for caring for yourself. When you go away to college or move out of your home, you will be deciding when to sleep and what to eat, and whether or not it is cold enough to put on a jacket. You will also be taking more responsibility for your own healthcare. This includes deciding when to see a healthcare provider, how to get medication when you might need it, how to eat in a way that keeps you healthy, how to use campus health services and how to use health insurance.

Additionally, it is also really important that you have the basic information about your past and current health and mental health problems. Be able to talk about them and describe them, how the problems present themselves, what treatments have you gotten, whether you have taken or currently need to be taking medication. Having this knowledge makes your healthcare safer and more effective. It will be helpful if you have a good understanding of the following:

  • Know about your health history: what illnesses, surgeries and problems have you had in the past and what problems do you currently have
  • Know your medications (both past and current): for medicines you are taking now, know the name and the dose. Also, be aware of side effects or problems you have had with current and recently taken medicines
  • Know about your health insurance coverage
  • Know about history of family health issues: even if you have not been sick in the past, some illnesses tend to run in families (if a family member has the illness you can be at higher risk) so it is a good idea to know about major illnesses that have affected your immediate family members
  • Family response to medicines: for problems like depression, if you’ve had a close relative who had depression and responded well to a particular medicine, there is a good chance this medicine will work if you become depressed in the future

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