Vim & Vigor - Fall 2019 - GMC - 31

The Brain Connection

Most of us know that if we have family members with mental health
issues, we are at higher risk for those issues as well.
"We get a lot from our parents-intelligence, resilience and humor,
and also anxiety and depression," Pinkerton says.
Understanding the mental health conditions your mother has had
throughout her life will help you better understand the conditions you
might encounter and give you a leg up on treating them if they arise.
For example, if you discover your mom went through frequent periods of low mood and crying during your childhood but didn't seek
help, you might be quicker to spot signs of depression in yourself and
get help early.
It also matters if your mom ends up with a neurological disorder,
such as Alzheimer's disease or dementia.
"You might not care about those things when you're young, but
there are some patterns of heritability for Alzheimer's and certain
types of dementia," Pinkerton says. "And, again, this means there are
lifestyle changes you can make to decrease your risk."
Those lifestyle changes are the same ones mentioned for preventing cancer: Maintain a healthy weight, eat healthy foods, manage
stress, limit alcohol and quit smoking.
With the combination of knowledge of your mom's health history
and commitment to good habits, you-and your daughters-can live
your healthiest lives. ■

Nearly 1 in 4 women
suffer with anxiety
in a given year.

Women are twice as
likely as men to be

How to Talk About
Health with Mom
Maybe yours is the kind of family where
conversations about menopause, menstruation and
mental health are easily broached. However, for many
families that may not be the case. Luckily, Tik Pau, MD,
a primary care provider with GMG's Bostock Family
Medicine, offers tips for asking personal health
questions without ruffling too many feathers.
3 Tip 1: Make the most of family time. "Family
get-togethers are a great time to ask health-related
questions. Family members are likely more relaxed
and open since they're feeling festive and happy,"
says Dr. Pau. Plus, having already caught up with one
another on everyday things, a question about health
may not seem so out-of-the-blue.
3 Tip 2: Blame it on your doctor. Preface all
of your questions with a disclaimer that your doctor
is the one who's requesting the information.
"By highlighting your intentions behind these
questions-striving to be healthier-this may make
family members more willing to share personal health
information and history," explains Dr. Pau.
3 Tip 3: Make the conversation about more
than just diagnoses. A growing body of research
shows that a person who has healthy, intimate
relationships and who is living with purpose is
more likely to live longer than someone who lacks
those things. When you approach your mother or
grandmother-or your daughter, for that matter-
ask her what has brought fulfillment in her life.
"Balancing serious, even upsetting, health
information with more uplifting topics, like what
brings that specific person joy or happiness, can
lighten the mood," emphasizes Dr. Pau.

APPOINTMENTS

diagnosed with

Put Your Health
History to Work

Have you ever dealt
with a mental health

The expert providers of GMG Primary
Care will pair your family history with
your health needs to ensure the best care
possible. Schedule an appointment today
by visiting gwinnettmedicalgroup.com/
pcpscheduling.

depression.

issue?

FALL 2019

31


https://www.gwinnettmedicalgroup.com/primary-care/scheduling https://www.gwinnettmedicalgroup.com/primary-care/scheduling

Vim & Vigor - Fall 2019 - GMC

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Vim & Vigor - Fall 2019 - GMC - Contents
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