You’ve heard the saying: It runs in the family. What does this really mean? Biologically-related family members share genes in common, and we can see evidence of this in the physical resemblances among many family members.
Family members also share their environment, dietary and exercise habits, lifestyle behaviors, and cultural practices. Most common health problems are a result of our genes interacting with the environment to cause disease. Chronic health conditions like heart disease, diabetes, mental illness and certain cancers often have a familial component. In families where multiple closely-related biological family members have the same condition, there may be an increased risk for others to develop the same disease.