Considerations Before Undergoing a Genetic Health Test

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Have you heard of genetic health testing? Many people are now getting this genetic health evaluation done as they wish to ascertain whether they carry any disease-causing genes and how likely these genes make then to one day suffer from the illness. A genetic health test or genetic predisposition test can tell you which diseases you are likely to develop and those which you are less likely to develop. These diseases must of course be genetically linked. DNA testing analysis will determine whether you have certain DNA combinations that are linked to the disease in question.

Genetic Health Test

First consideration

The most important aspect of a genetic test is the results. The results are not the kind of results you breeze through and then shelf, or do some online browsing and then draw up a new diet. The results need to be applied to your life and way of living or rather, your way of living and life need to be applied to the results. We cannot help at this point but recall Angelina Jolie as she too chose to undergo a genetic health test. Once she had the results, she decided on a strategy that would help reduce her chances of getting breast cancer – in her case it was a mastectomy (removal of the breast and surrounding tissue).

So you have a health test result that will show you have a very high chance of getting diabetes type 2 or maybe breast cancer. There are hundreds of diseases your genetic predisposition could potentially be tested for in these types of health tests. Once you have your results you need somebody to guide you. You could ask your doctor but ideally you would locate a genetic counselor. Unfortunately, in many countries genetic counselors are in short supply so you might have a bit of a hard time locating one. In the USA, the www.nsgc.org website (National Society of Genetic Counselors) could be of help.

Genetic counselors specialize in genetic illnesses and are trained to help people answer their questions about these types of tests. They will for example, assist pregnant women who find out they are going to have a baby with Down’s syndrome or some other form of Aneuploidy. A genetic counselor will advise you on the right life style choices to make to reduce your chances of getting those diseases you have a high predisposition to; what foods to avoid and which to eat more of, which exercises to undertake and which to minimize and so forth.

If you have a history of an illness in the family, genetic health testing can be done to help you know whether you are likely to suffer from the family condition. You might in fact, just have a genetic predisposition test for a single disease that is known to be in the family (for example a genetic health test for prostate cancer).

Should I have myself checked for every disease that can possibly be tested?

It would be confusing and risky to undertake a health test for every disease that can be tested for. There are only so many diseases which you could, to a limited extent, control or reduce your chances of developing. There are also only a limited number of changes you can make to your life. Genetic health testing can indeed be helpful and a great way of managing your health but you need to be aware of the importance of professional assistance and how the results can both positively and negatively affect your life.