It’s widely known that you can undergo genetic testing to determine your ancestry but it can also reveal hidden potential health problems lurking in your future. If you were at higher risk for a particular type of cancer, wouldn’t you want to know? What about the possibility of passing on an inherited condition to your children unknowingly? If you could make small changes now to avoid a disease you are highly prone to, wouldn’t you want to know? Undergoing genetic testing allows you to make the most informed decisions for your health and can reveal information that just might save your life. Genetic testing is now widely available to everyone and the cost is relatively inexpensive which is why I highly recommend it to all of my patients.
When a gene is changed or altered, it develops a genetic mutation or variant. These genetic mutations are the cause of many conditions and diseases. Discovering which genetic mutations you have can tell you which diseases or conditions you have an increased risk of contracting. It can also reveal those conditions that you have inherited. In inherited cases, you may already have it or just be carrying the genetic mutation. To be a carrier of the mutation means that you don’t show any signs or symptoms of the condition but could pass it onto your children if your partner also has the same genetic mutation. Inherited conditions are things like Hemophilia, Sickle Cell Disease, Cystic Fibrosis or Huntington’s disease.
Having a genetic mutation in a particular gene sequence does not necessarily mean that you will get the condition or disease. For many diseases, its the total genetics, environment, lifestyle, diet, exercise, toxic burdens, etc that drives the disease state to emerge. The combination of a genetic mutation and these other causative factors, cause you to be highly disposed to acquiring disease. I see this particularly prevalent in cases of dementia or Alzheimers, cancer and cardiovascular diseases. If you know you have the genetic mutation for these types of diseases through genetic testing, you can make different lifestyle choices that can prevent it.
Genetic testing is not an all knowing crystal ball into your health future. Unforeseen events may occur after testing that affect your genetic code. You could also later be exposed to hazardous chemicals, toxins or other agents that could cause a disease that wasn’t on your genetic testing results.
Getting genetic testing done is very easy and painless. You can purchase a kit from the grocery store or order it online. I prefer 23andme.com. You collect a saliva sample and return it to the company for analysis based on what type of results you have purchased. I also recommend that my patients send in the raw data from 23andme.com to geneticgenie.com for methylation and detoxification genetic analysis. It generally take for 4-6 weeks to receive your results.
Take your complete report to your physician to discuss your strategy to mitigate any of the genetic mutations that may be a problem for you. Knowing how your body methylates and detoxifies is a very important part of the results so be sure to understand how that process works for your individual genetic makeup.