Midlanders are among the most ignorant in Britain when it comes to answering vital questions about their family's health, a new survey reveals today.
Nine out of ten GPs (89 per cent) in the West Midlands claimed many of their patients do not know enough about what, if any, hereditary conditions run in their families.
More than half (51 per cent) added they were not confident people were providing accurate information on relatives' health history. However, 41 per cent admitted they were nervous about answering such questions from doctors, while 80 per cent said they did not feel the need to know.
The study, commissioned by Norwich Union Healthcare, also discovered that an increased interest in genealogy is down to curiosity (70 per cent) rather than health reasons (three per cent).
Dr Ann Robinson, a family GP, said: "We often know more about our friends' health than we do about our own grandparents, aunts and uncles, but detailed knowledge of your own family's health problems could help to save your life.
"Most of the common, serious illnesses are potentially inherited.
"If you know you have a family tendency to develop Alzheimer's, heart disease, diabetes or some types of cancer, you can get specific advice about how to prevent the disease yourself or at least pick it up in the early stages."