A Genogram is a pictorial map of a family through three generations or more that captures family history by noting: births, relationships, family roles, patterns, losses, occupations, professions, supports, communication patterns. Familial links are recognized regarding health: cancer, diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, obesity, addictions. The genogram is a tool that can help a family identify new supports, strengths and possible limitations, recognize patterns that can change, provide useful information for caregivers.
The Summary page of the instructions for the Genogram has insightful points - some of which are below:
- Our health, for the most part, is the result of genetic factors, along with lifestyle factors. The first step is to become aware of the patterns themselves.
- List medical history, lifestyle factors, strengths and causes of death for individuals within your family system.
- Look for patterns such as chronic disorders like diabetes, allergies, hypertension, alcoholism and other addictions that could put you and your children at risk. Don't overlook events like broken bones that could indicate osteoporosis.
- No matter what you find, talk open and honestly with your family. If there's a history of alcoholism, depression, cancer, heart disease, or other health or emotional problems, this could be valuable information for your children to help with prevention and lowering risks.
- The next step is to intentionally effect change within the family system. Staying healthy is a personal commitment. It requires motivation and a positive attitude to stay on a healthy path. (I liked this one!!! Says a lot!)
I was on the phone with my parents for almost an hour gathering some of the information. Most of it I knew, but what I didn't realize is the number of family members that have/had diabetes. Mom's side: Mom and her twin brother both have/had diabetes. Their biological father wasn't part of their life after they were 7 so she doesn't really know much about him or his history. Mom said that at a family reunion for her father's side of the family she found out that the "majority" (I don't know how many) all had diabetes. Dad's side: Dad and all three of his siblings plus both my grandmother and grandfather. Holy diabetes, Batman! That's a whole lot of family with diabetes!! (Heart disease is another common factor - especially on my Dad's side.)
Could you guess that the majority of them were also obese or at least over weight? What an eye-opener for me. Yes, I think I always knew that would be a possibility for me, but to see the numbers makes it seem more real. At the very least, diabetes was definitely in my future if God hadn't given me the courage for this journey.
"I praise you [God] because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." ~Psalm 139:14