August 2017

What Are Your Health Risks?

Screenshot of the NIH Making Sense of Your Health Risks guide.

It seems like a new health risk is in the news every day. How do you know which risks are worth worrying about? NIH has created a one-page guide called Making Sense of Your Health Risks to help you put risks into perspective.

A health risk is something that increases your chance of developing a disease. For example, getting too much sun on your skin may put you at higher risk for skin cancer. That doesn’t mean that you will definitely get skin cancer. You can take steps to lower your risk by protecting your skin from sun exposure.

When you hear about a health risk, ask yourself some basic questions to decide what you should do. Who does this health news affect? Are they people like you? Are they your age? Do they live in your area? How certain is this risk? What steps can you take to protect yourself?

You have the power to change many factors that put your health at risk. You can protect your skin from the sun. You can choose to eat healthy food and be physically active. However, you can’t change all the things that affect your health risks. You can’t change your age. You can’t change a family history of an inherited disease.

Ask your doctor about the most important health risks for you. Write down any questions before your visit, and speak up if you don’t understand something. See the one-page health risks guide, in both English and Spanish