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Common Hereditary Health Conditions

  • Category: Blog
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  • Written By: Northern Inyo Healthcare District
Common Hereditary Health Conditions

What Common Diseases Run in Your Family History?

Your family history can provide important clues about your risk for developing certain hereditary health conditions. By understanding your family history, you can take steps to protect your health and prevent these conditions.

Some of the most well-known hereditary health conditions include:

Heart Disease

Having a close family member with heart disease can increase your risks. Familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) is a condition that causes high cholesterol, which if left untreated can increase your risk of a heart attack. However, early treatment can reduce your risk by about 80%.


Cancer can be a hereditary health condition that can run in families — however, it’s possible that family members just share the same lifestyle behaviors that increase risks. In fact, it’s thought that only about 5% to 10% of all cases of cancer are inherited. The following types of cancer are known to be passed down through generations:

  • Breast cancer
  • Colon cancer
  • Prostate cancer
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Uterine cancer
  • Melanoma
  • Pancreatic cancer


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), every year about 795,000 people in the United States have a stroke. Of these, about 155,000 people die from stroke and about 610,000 people have a first-time or recurrent stroke. The good news is that up to 80% of strokes can be prevented.


Diabetes is a hereditary condition that can be passed down from generation to generation. Research shows that the following is true for patients with type 1 diabetes:

  • If both you and your partner have type 1 diabetes, your child’s risk is between 1 in 10 and 1 in 4.
  • If you are a man, the odds of your child developing diabetes are 1 in 17.
  • If you are a woman and your child was born before you were 25, their risk is 1 in 25.
  • If you are a woman and your child was born after you turned 25, your child's risk is 1 in 100.
  • If you have APS-1, your child's risk of getting the syndrome and developing type 1 diabetes is one in two.


This condition, which causes bones to become thin and weak, runs in families. If you have a family member with osteoporosis, you may be more likely to develop the condition yourself. Other risk factors include your sex, body frame, age, race, and associated medical issues.

Managing Your Health

These are not the only conditions that run in families — others such as autoimmune and mental health conditions can be hereditary. If you have a family history of any of these conditions, it’s important to see your doctor regularly and take steps to protect your health. You may need to take medication, have surgery, or make lifestyle changes to treat these conditions.

Inyo County Family Medicine

Take control of your health by understanding your family history and taking steps to prevent hereditary health conditions. Talk to your doctor about your risk factors and what you can do to stay healthy.

At (760) 873-5811’s Internal Medicine Clinic, our experienced providers can help you manage your family’s health and track your individual health status. To schedule an appointment please call 760-873-7111.