Know your health history

Oct 282003
Authors: Brittany Burke

Students travel from a variety of places to fill their brains

with knowledge. Yet, some students are uninformed about the

knowledge of their health history, which could change their


“I know a little about my health history,” said Terry Miller, a

senior chemical engineering major.

Although multiple sclerosis and diabetes plagues Miller’s

mother, he still doesn’t feel the need to be tested.

“I am unaware on how it affects me,” Miller said. “I probably

should get tested but I probably won’t.”

According to Deb Morris, the Health Educator at Hartshorn Health

Services, Miller is not alone.

“Students don’t know how chronic illnesses affect them,” Morris

said. “They know people die but they don’t know why.”

Morris believes these problems stem from a dependence issue.

“For some students this is the first time they are responsible

for their health,” Morris said. “Mom and Dad aren’t making the

appointment anymore.”

Jessica Jones, a freshmen open option major, has just started

becoming more involved with her own health history.

“Now that I’m 18, I feel like you have to know (health history)

when you go to the doctor,” Jones said. “I know the basics.”

According to Hartshorn Health Services, Jones, like other new

students, received a health history packet once admitted to the

university. Morris said if students actually fill out the packet

they gain more insight into their families health history.

Unfortunately, according to Morris, there is no way for Hartshorn

to know if the student or a parent fills out this information.

Morris thinks information is the key to a healthy life.

“My philosophy is when people have good information they make

choices that are health enhancing,” Morris said. “Students need to

pay attention to themselves.”

Some students do pay attention to their health history.

Brianne Cranston, a junior human development and family studies

major, has been checked for diabetes since the age of 13.

“My aunt was diagnosed with diabetes when she was in eighth

grade,” Cranston said. “So, since then I’ve been getting tested for


Her mother also suffers from a thyroid disease and according to

Cranston getting checked is very important to her and her


“Since I’ve turned 18 I feel like I get tested for anything my

family has ever had,” Cranston said. “But, if it’s going to save me

in the long run, it’s definitely worth it.”

Not all parents speak with their children about health issues

within the family.

“My parents have never sat down with me to talk about health

stuff,” said Logan McConnell, a senior Wildlife Biology major. “And

I don’t think I would ever ask them to do it.”

Sometimes, students feel it’s important to be tested not because

of their families’ health history but rather because of the health

history within their country.

Carla Webb, a student from Australia studying at CSU, said that

in her country everyone knows someone who has cancer.

“Cancer is pretty common in (Australia),” Webb said. “Anyone who

is smart gets checked early.”

Morris wants college students to know they are not


“As 20-year-olds, some students say, ‘whatever, I’ve still got

time’,” Morris said.

Josh Tolle, a senior history major, said he will not get tested

until he is older.

“I know my families’ health history but I am not too worried

about it,” Tolle said. “I don’t think I’ll even consider getting

tested until I’m much older.”

Morris stresses the benefits of early detection.

“It’s foolish to not take care of ourselves because it’s so

costly,” Morris said. “Most things are stoppable.”

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