A key element of the family history is whether parents or siblings have had manifestations of coronary artery disease before the age of 55 years. A positive family history of diabetes in both parents predestines the individual to be diabetic. A positive family history of hypertension in both parents (vs. only one parent) is associated with an average onset of hypertension 10 years earlier in the offspring. A family history of certain uncommon conditions is often an immediate hint to the interpretation of patient complaints. A few examples would include polycystic kidney disease, pheochromocytoma, collagen vascular diseases, or cystinuria.
Impotence is the dominant symptom of the sexual history in men. It is most often associated with depression, anxiety, alcoholism, or diabetes, but can also be induced by many drugs. The sexual history has undergone a fundamental change since the emergence of AIDS. Individuals at high risk of exposure to the AIDS virus should be questioned explicitly about their pattern of sexual behavior.
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