Wouldn't it be nice if there were one universal home diagnostic test kit that could determine how healthy you are, warn you about potential problems, and offer suggestions on how to head off problems before they ever come to the surface?

Unfortunately, an infinite number of variables intertwine to form the mosaic of an individual's health and well-being. Some of these factors are handed down through generations of a family. Some of them might result from drugs a mother took when she was pregnant or a father's workplace exposure to toxic chemicals. Still others relate to the way an individual has lived his or her life. 

Evaluating the state of your health, then, is a complex issue, rife with approximations, theories, and guesses. This article will describe the interplay of several important factors that you should be aware of because they can influence your health. Here's a preview.

  • How to Make a Family Medical HistoryTracing your family history can give you clues about the diseases you might be susceptible to. Learning about illnesses in your family and the circumstances of family members' deaths might help you spot early warning signs and prevent life-threatening illnesses. Unfortunately, the information you find in your family tree might not always give you clear answers about your personal health.
  • How to Assess Your LifestyleYour lifestyle, including diet, activity level, alcohol intake, and tobacco use, can have a profound effect on your health. Many life-threatening diseases can be prevented through lifestyle changes, such as cutting back on alcoholic beverages or quitting that smoking habit. Exercise alone can make profound improvements to your overall health.
  • Your Health Report CardOur ten-question quiz can help you determine what your risk factors might be. You can use your score to evaluate your overall health risk. Talk to your doctor about potential changes you can make to your lifestyle to improve your health.
There are many things you can do, and many more things you can avoid, to keep yourself in tip-top health. Vist the links below for more information.
  • A good way to spot early warning signs and potential problems is to perform regular self diagnostics. Learn more in How to Administer Self-Exams.
  • Secondhand smoke can be hazardous to your health. To learn about the risks, visit How Secondhand Smoke Works.
  • Excessive alcohol intake can cause liver damage, ulcers, high blood pressure, and other long-term ailments. Learn more in How Alcohol Works.

This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.