Thursday, 31 March 2016

Health Chart using #MyColorfulAncestry

J Paul Hawthorne came up with a way of visualising our family history data. #MyColourfulAncestry which has taken Facebook by storm

Paul has provided a downloadable 5 generation chart Thanks Paul!

There are a lot of things you can do. I have always been a strong advocate of researching your health history and so of course I redid a cause of death chart.  

This shows the cause of death and the age.

Cancer shown in red occurs more often than I would like. Tuberculosis also occurs as does heart disease although pretty good ages for most of my ancestors. Best is 101 years for my great-great grandfather who died from a fractured femur.

Old age, Natural decay, Senile decay occur quite often. 

On my father's side the average age is 69 (maximum 93 years), pulled down some by the death at age 29 in World War 2 and also some deaths in their 60s due to tuberculosis and pneumonia.

On my mother's side average age is 72 years (maximum is 101) again with some early deaths due again to tuberculosis (27 and 36 years). 

On looking at the chart the cancers are at a more advanced age so unlikely to have a genetic cause and while not shown here it is known they were different types of cancer. As the people get older you need to be careful with causes of death as the old saying goes death is caused by the stopping of the heart so cardiac can be quite common. Old age is often listed and prior to knowing a lot about medical causes the symptoms may be given as the cause.

In my fifth generation the people are born in the mid to later 1800s and as can be seen there are quite a number who have reached their three score years and ten. Certainly there was a lot of infant mortality in the earlier years and it is this that has led to the average age in the past being quite low rather than the fact that some people did not live to an older age.

The creation of a health chart showing cause of death or illness in life can be very useful in finding out more about your family. You can show height, allergies, fertility, colour of hair pretty much any characteristic of your family.

If you have someone who died early due to war or accident you do need to show this as it can skew the data.

If you find a common theme as cause of death particularly at an early age then it is possible that there is a genetic cause and having a discussion with your doctor is well worth while as a proactive regime of testing or changes to lifestyle can take place.

The life you save could be your own!

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