Illustration: Richard Mia
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What medications are you taking? Any side effects?
Ask everyone in your family to list the prescription meds they take. Notice an abundance of beta-blockers or other blood pressure medications? Having one or more immediate family members with high blood pressure before the age of 60 doubles your risk of developing it. It's also important to find out which meds relatives have been taken off, and whether it was because the drug didn't work or because it caused adverse side effects. Drug sensitivity—how people react to and metabolize medications—is a major component of health history that's too often ignored. If several relatives have responded negatively to one drug, those sensitivities may be genetic. There's no guarantee you'll also have a bad reaction, but telling your doctor could improve your treatment options if you develop the same ailment later in life.