@WomensHealthMagazine

5 Serious Health Conditions That Can Be Passed Down Through Your Genes

3 months ago, 13 Mar 17:58

By: Sarah Elizabeth Ri ...

If you're anything like us, you've probably been eyeing the fancy mail-in genetic tests that are all over the interwebs these days, wondering what they could possibly reveal about the secrets of your DNA. Although many offer entertaining insights—curious if you’re genetically predisposed to sport a unibrow or sneeze when you look at the sun?—the real potential of such testing is to reveal your likelihood for developing serious health conditions.  For example, DNA tests from Color ($250, amazon.com) will analyze a vial of spit you send in the mail for 30 genes for various cancers, including BRCA1 and BRCA2, both of which are linked to breast and ovarian cancers, and hereditary cholesterol. Meanwhile, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved the testing company 23andMe ($170, amazon.com) to tell consumers whether they have an increased genetic risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, which have no cure. And, just last month, the FDA announced it would streamline the approval process for more tests, saying “[They] can prompt consumers to be more engaged in pursuing the benefits of healthy lifestyle choices.” In an ideal world, knowing what's lurking in your DNA would motivate you to get more mammograms or other screening exams. Or you'd get serious about taking omega-3 fatty acids or commit to daily exercise—strategies that researchers believe will delay the onset of Alzheimer’s. Yet, as the applications for genetic testing expand, experts say we have the opportunity to learn more about our risk for certain diseases than we ever imagined possible. “People are really interested in genetic testing right now. More of my patients are asking about it, and I’ve overhead parents chatting about it at my son’s little league games,” explains Bradley Patay, M.D., an internal medicine specialist at Scripps Clinic Torrey Pines in La Jolla, California. “This interest gives us a unique opportunity to really educate the public about the potential of genomics. Plus, the price has been coming down, so there’s some momentum to get patients engaged.” (Although the new consumer tests analyze your DNA for several conditions, your doctor might need to order a specific test, which could be covered by insurance.) In the leap to learn more about ourselves, however, it’s important to know what genetics can and can't tell you. Just because you have a genetic predisposition for a disease doesn't mean you will get it, says Mary Freivogel, president of the National Society of Genetic Counselors. "Your environment, family history, lifestyle habits, and even pure chance also play a role,” she says. Here, we share some genetic breakthroughs that should be on everyone’s radar: If you're anything like us, you've probably been eyeing the fancy mail-in genetic tests that are all over the interwebs these days, wondering what they could possibly reveal about the secrets of your DNA. Although many offer entertaining insights—curious if you’re genetically predisposed to sport a unibrow or sneeze when you look at the sun?—the real potential of such testing is to reveal your likelihood for developing serious health conditions.  For example, DNA tests from Color ($250, amazon.com) will analyze a vial of spit you send in the mail for 30 ...
Read More


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@WomensHealthMagazine

5 Serious Health Conditions That Can Be Passed Down Through Your Genes

3 months ago, 13 Mar 17:58

By: Sarah Elizabeth Ri ...
If you're anything like us, you've probably been eyeing the fancy mail-in genetic tests that are all over the interwebs these days, wondering what they could possibly reveal about the secrets of your DNA. Although many offer entertaining insights—curious if you’re genetically predisposed to sport a unibrow or sneeze when you look at the sun?—the real potential of such testing is to reveal your likelihood for developing serious health conditions.  For example, DNA tests from Color ($250, amazon.com) will analyze a vial of spit you send in the mail for 30 genes for various cancers, including BRCA1 and BRCA2, both of which are linked to breast and ovarian cancers, and hereditary cholesterol. Meanwhile, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved the testing company 23andMe ($170, amazon.com) to tell consumers whether they have an increased genetic risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, which have no cure. And, just last month, the FDA announced it would streamline the approval process for more tests, saying “[They] can prompt consumers to be more engaged in pursuing the benefits of healthy lifestyle choices.” In an ideal world, knowing what's lurking in your DNA would motivate you to get more mammograms or other screening exams. Or you'd get serious about taking omega-3 fatty acids or commit to daily exercise—strategies that researchers believe will delay the onset of Alzheimer’s. Yet, as the applications for genetic testing expand, experts say we have the opportunity to learn more about our risk for certain diseases than we ever imagined possible. “People are really interested in genetic testing right now. More of my patients are asking about it, and I’ve overhead parents chatting about it at my son’s little league games,” explains Bradley Patay, M.D., an internal medicine specialist at Scripps Clinic Torrey Pines in La Jolla, California. “This interest gives us a unique opportunity to really educate the public about the potential of genomics. Plus, the price has been coming down, so there’s some momentum to get patients engaged.” (Although the new consumer tests analyze your DNA for several conditions, your doctor might need to order a specific test, which could be covered by insurance.) In the leap to learn more about ourselves, however, it’s important to know what genetics can and can't tell you. Just because you have a genetic predisposition for a disease doesn't mean you will get it, says Mary Freivogel, president of the National Society of Genetic Counselors. "Your environment, family history, lifestyle habits, and even pure chance also play a role,” she says. Here, we share some genetic breakthroughs that should be on everyone’s radar: If you're anything like us, you've probably been eyeing the fancy mail-in genetic tests that are all over the interwebs these days, wondering what they could possibly reveal about the secrets of your DNA. Although many offer entertaining insights—curious if you’re genetically predisposed to sport a unibrow or sneeze when you look at the sun?—the real potential of such testing is to reveal your likelihood for developing serious health conditions.  For example, DNA tests from Color ($250, amazon.com) will analyze a vial of spit you send in the mail for 30 ...
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