The science of genetics has come a long way in recent years. From the discovery of the double helix to sequencing and structure, we have learned so much from genes about the animal kingdom and our human history. What genes reveal about our health has also been a developing process with new products like ASEA water researching cell science to make human life better. Genetic testing is doing more than ever to teach us about our health and human history as well.
How can you learn what your Genes are Saying?
Have a doctor or a scientist check a small blood sample or inspect a cheek swab. Both these things contain your genetic code. Check with your doctor before taking any genetic test. Not all are accurate, or even high quality. It may even be dangerous to take one, depending on certain circumstances, and scientists and doctors are not always confident about how to interpret the results of a test.
Your Genes can verify you have Symptoms of a Disease
Some diseases are caused by genetic alterations, such as the Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, which weakens one’s arms and legs. A genetic testing can confirm the diagnosis of such a problem. In the case of Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, genetic testing can identify the gene mutation that causes terminal illness.
Your genes can say if you are at risk of developing a disease
Even if you do not display symptoms of a disease, if your family has had it, you may have it, too. If your genes are mutated in a way consistent with the illness, genetic testing can find out.
Such testing (presymptomatic or predictive testing) is done for problems such as breast cancer, Graves disease (an autoimmune disorder that overstimulates the thyroid), and Huntington’s disease (which progressively wrecks nerve cells). It is done for many other illnesses as well.
Your Genes can reveal whether or not you carry Inherited Disease
Even if you do not have a disease, you may be a carrier for it and pass it on to your children if it runs in the family. Tay-Sachs (a nervous system problem) and sickle-cell anemia (a red blood cell disorder) are examples of this type of gene mutation. Genetic testing can tell you if your unborn child has contracted a disease and prenatal testing can inform you of whether your child carries a genetic mutation for an inherited disease, or if they have already developed a condition, such as spina bifidia (which causes spinal cord and backbone problems) and Down syndrome.
Genetic testing can indicate if your newborn has genetic mutations that must be treated before your child contracts a genetic disease. Newborns in the United States must be tested for at least 21 mutations, which left unattended can cause a wide range of health problems from heart, infections, hearing loss, and mental retardation.
Your Genes can also say how certain Drugs affect you
Each person’s genetic makeup is different, and you may respond to certain drugs differently. For example, patients suffering from chronic myelogenous can have their genes tested to reveal how they respond to imatinib drugs.
What can your Genes not tell you?
Genetic testing tends to only tell you if you are likely to develop a disorder — nothing further. So, be aware of what your genes cannot reveal. After all, they are not a crystal ball. Your genes can only show the presence of a mutation, not whether or not you will develop the disease, at what pace the disease will progress if you catch it, or the severity of your symptoms.
Learning what genetic mutations you have is a useful precaution and knowing what you need to watch out for in yourself and your children can help you avoid or minimize diseases caused. But they cannot predict the future, whether you will catch the disease or how it will progress.