Body

Will you age like your mother?

Turns out your mother’s health can reveal a lot about your own.

By Karen Fittall
Kate Hudson Goldie Hawn

Want to know how healthy you’ll be in the future? You might want to start by checking out what your mum’s health-report card looks like.

As early intervention is the best method of prevention, listen up and get ready to take action if your mum:

Hit menopause early

You’re six times more likely to experience the same thing, which means entering menopause before you reach 45 – at least six years earlier than average. The big deal? Losing oestrogen earlier than usual can bump up your risk of heart disease and osteoporosis.

Fight it:

If you smoke, stop. Cigarette smoke damages DNA, which is one reason why smokers reach menopause two years earlier than non-smokers, on average. And eat plenty of low-fat dairy foods, after US researchers linked them to delaying menopause.

Has been diagnosed with glaucoma

It means you’re 10 times more likely than the average Australian to get it yourself. That’s because in most cases, glaucoma – which is the leading cause of blindness worldwide – is genetic. In 2014, six different genetic variants that bump up the glaucoma risk in families were identified.

Fight it:

Eat plenty of carrots – and consider getting a dog. While your risk of glaucoma falls by 64 per cent if you eat two serves of carrots a week, dog owners are 20 per cent less likely to develop glaucoma, thanks to the way the antigens dogs carry affect our immune systems. And, if you do have a family history of glaucoma, regular eye exams are essential.

Had a stroke before 65

Your own risk of having one triples. All of us should pay attention to modifiable stroke risk factors, like blood pressure, physical activity levels and smoking. However, actively addressing these risk factors is especially important for people with this family history, whose genes increase their stroke risk further say the researchers behind the finding.

Fight it:

Exercise at least four times a week. Work out hard enough to break into a sweat each time, and your risk of having a stroke is 20 per cent lower than someone less active. It’s thanks to exercise’s beneficial effect on traditional stroke risk factors, like blood pressure and weight, say the South Australian researchers behind the discovery.

Is diabetic

Your risk of developing it too, doubles. And it’s even higher if your mum was diagnosed before her 50th birthday. There are at least 40 different genetic markers that have been identified as playing a role in increasing the risk of type 2 diabetes, but the good news is that the function of at least 50 per cent of them can be modified by healthy lifestyle habits.

Fight it:

Drink an extra cup of coffee a day, say US scientists. That’ll reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes by 11 percent. But, most importantly, watch your weight and be physically active, the researchers advise.

WATCH: Your healthy guide to coffee in the video player below!

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