Genetic testing can unleash a world of information, or rather, generations of information, because genetics are passed down from parent to child. Medicine is just beginning to take advantage of the information that comes along with genetic testing. Genetic counselors are able to create treatments based off of what gene is mutated, even treatments for cancer, there are treatments for cystic fibrosis in children. There is some debate whether or not this information is too much information, that it can instill fear in patients. But here are some reasons why genetic testing is a good idea.
When a child is born, he or she undergoes a newborn screening. This includes a hearing exam, blood oxygen level and a blood screen to look for around 30 genetic diseases that if they are not caught early enough, could lead to irreparable damage. The diseases that are screened for have interventions, so that if the baby does have them, it can be treated to prevent complications as the baby grows.
Peace of Mind
The peace of mind that comes with genetic testing can be for the tester and their children or future children. Breast and ovarian cancer is one of the diseases that be found as a result of genetic testing. Mutation of the genes BRCA1 or BRCA2 causes uncontrolled cell growth and women with these mutated genes are five times more likely to develop breast cancer. Macular degeneration (vision loss), bipolar disorder, obesity and Parkinson’s disease are among the other diseases that can be found in a genetic test. There are people who want to know if there is a chance of developing a disease so they can mentally and financially prepare for it. But on the other hand, there are people who don’t want to know, they don’t want to live life not really knowing if they will actually develop a disease.
Develop a Strategy
If you have a genetic test done, whatever the results reveal, you can prepare a healthy lifestyle based on the results. If you have a mutated gene that could cause breast cancer, there are foods that you can include in your diet to prevent it such as broccoli, pomegranates, walnuts or fish. If high cholesterol is in your genetic makeup, then you can add extra spinach, avocado or beans.
Reasons Against Genetic Testing
Having that mutated gene doesn’t necessarily mean that it will develope into Parkinson’s disease or breast cancer, the argument is that why would you want to worry about something that may or may not happen? There are times when the results are less than helpful. The result “variant of uncertain significance,” can be found, where there is a change in the normal sequence of a gene, but the significance is unknown or unclear. What do you do with such an unclear result?
Deciding whether or not to have a genetic test can be difficult. If you are on the side of people who don’t want to know, there is peace of mind in that as well. Having the test done can bring a lot of information and you have to be prepared for both situations. To learn more about KlothoGenics and genetic testing for disease, contact us today. Whatever you choose, we are here to help you live a healthier life.