The demand for genetic predisposition tests has increased considerably as people want to discover more about their genetic health. They highly advanced analyses provide you with the autoimmune diseases you are predisposed to develop and an estimate of how likely you will develop the illness of the course of your life. Knowing more about your genes means making the right lifestyle choices which can help keep a disease at bay.
The test is very easy to carry out; normally it requires a tiny prick at the finger and a drop of blood. This quick procedure, which you are able to do in the ease and comfort of your own home, will provide genetic analysts with enough of your genetic material to tell you whether you are predisposed to a host of genetic illnesses; the list of illnesses covered varies from company to company but here are some of the more common genetic/hereditary illnesses covered:
- Breast Cancer
- Bladder Cancer
- Obesity migraine
- Alzheimer’s diseases
Knowing Your Own Genetic Make-up
Genetic predisposition tests can be very informative and helpful but results must be seen with a qualified nutritionist or doctor who can provide the right guidelines, suggest changes in life style and explain in more detail the nature and symptoms of the disease in question.
However, you need to be weary regarding what information these DNA testing companies can tell you about your genes. Some claims you should steer clear of are genetic health tests that can tell you:
- Predisposition to certain character traits like optimism and pessimism
- A predisposition to being artistic
Some concerns about the predisposition test include the fact that some people may be overly conditioned by the theory of genetic determinism and thus, put everything down to their genes. By not considering the importance of life style and environment and the correlation between these two factors and their genetic predisposition to disease, people may interpret the results as doom or dismiss their significance entirely.
Some also claim the genetic health tests may put people off having children as they may be heavily burdened by the thought of passing on genetic illnesses to their children. It is not however uncommon for doctors to suggest preconception screening for couples trying for a baby. Depending on your age, ethnic origins and family history, you might be more likely to carry certain hereditary genes that cause a given illness. By doing preconception screening for disease, one can determine whether one or both partners are carriers of any genetic illness and doctors can estimate the chances of this being passed on to the baby. For example, a woman with RH- blood who plans having a child and a man with RH+ blood could mean the baby born might suffer from a condition called “heamolytic disease of the newborn”, a potentially life threatening disease which can even cause death. The disease can however be prevented by treating the mother and baby immediately with immune globulin (a sterile solution of antibodies). The aim of preconception screening is not to put couples off having their own kids but to personalize prenatal care based up the results of the test.
The best way to go about a genetic predisposition test and fully reap the benefits of the test is to take the results in conjunction with medical advice and work out the best way to take control of your life and possibly live a longer and healthier life.
Karl M McDonald is a specialist writer, namely writing about genetics and DNA testing. The author does however, delve into a diversity of other topics including pregnancy, parenting and schooling. More articles by this author can be found in the article knowledge base for homeDNAdirect Australia.