What are the names of those 6 pills that your granny is taking daily, and what is she taking them for? What about the fact that your mom has been referred to about 3 doctors and they can’t seem to find out why she’s having chronic headaches? Not to mention, you only found out that your dad has high blood pressure, and is a borderline diabetic after you bumped into his medication the last time you went home.

I recently had a checkup with my primary care physician. As I get older, I’ve really found the importance of taking care of my body the best I can. I’ve been working out 3-5 times a week, and I’m conscious of the food I put in my mouth (except for when Popeye’s has the $5 Big Box Special, all bets are off then).

Back to what I was saying… So there I was, at the doctor’s office, filling-out out the new patient paperwork. I answered the typical run-of-the-mill questions: My medical history, previous surgeries, whether or not I can tell if it’s about to rain based on my joints, current meds I take, allergens, etc. Then I got to the “Family Medical History” section. With my newfound extra attention to health and wellness, I approached this section quite differently than I had in the past.

In that sterile ass waiting room, completing medical documents with that germy pen the receptionist handed me;  I realized I knew only about 10-25% of my families real medical history. I sat there and thought to myself: “What was the name of the surgery my dad had last year?” “How long has my grandmother been taking that medication?” “My great aunts were under the age of 75, how did they all die of old age?” “They always said cousin Lee Lee was crazy, I wonder if he had a mental illness?”…”What in the hell does Dying from old age mean?”

After speaking briefly with a few friends, I realized… I AM NOT ALONE. Most of y’all don’t your Family’s Medical History either.

With that, do me a favor… As soon as you can this week, give your close family members a call.  Without being too nosy, simply ask them if they have any chronic illnesses or are taking any medications. The information could be critical for you some day.

It’s so imperative that African American families start consciously discussing health more openly. We already know that many diseases and illness are heavily dependent on genetic disposition. We have the opportunity to empower ourselves with vital information that could make our  long-term quality of life much better than previous generations. Take a pause, call ya folks, and have the conversation. #BlackLivesMatter