When someone sees me with my son and comments that “He has your eyes!”, a part of me is grateful that someone sees a resemblance between us. A part of me also cringes, because while my eyes may be nice to look at, I have also been wearing glasses since I was in first grade. In that respect, I truly hope that he does not “have my eyes” because wearing glasses as a kid is no picnic. While his vision seems great right now, I do know that I have to keep an eye on him (no pun intended) because nearsightedness is a trait that can be inherited. Fortunately, my husband is not nearsighted, so our son’s chances of being nearsighted are less than they would be if both my husband and I wore glasses.
Many times when people talk about health conditions that run in families, they talk about conditions that affect adults. There are some inherited conditions that affect children too. If a parent realizes that one of these conditions is a part of their personal health history, they may be able to detect symptoms of it in their child earlier than if they are unaware of that possibility.
Migraines are another condition that children can inherit from their parents. If one parent suffers from migraines, there is a fifty percent chance that the child will have them too. If both parents are affected, the chance is even greater. This is important to know, because sometimes the symptoms of migraines can be hard for children to describe. Other times symptoms like vomiting could mistakenly be attributed to another cause like a stomach bug.
Certain mental health conditions like ADHD, depression, bipolar disorder, and obsessive compulsive disorder also have strong family ties. These conditions are especially important to mention to your child’s pediatrician, even though it is likely to be difficult to talk about them. If your child’s pediatrician is aware of a family history of any of these conditions, they can help your child earlier and more effectively if any symptoms do arise.
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