DNA Testing is closely linked to connecting with one’s biological family and learning about family ancestry but is not limited to it. The use of DNA testing has been covering a wide range of issues and medical concerns which were not thought of as a possible option a few decades earlier. The advancement and development in DNA research have helped genealogical researchers as well as the field of medicine for predicting risk factors for certain diseases passed through parents to their future generations and some of them might have a multiplier effect and need to be controlled. The list below contains some common hereditary diseases and DNA testing
If the risk of a certain type of disease is increased due to genetics, it is important to take preventive measures in the right time before the condition worsens or goes uncontrolled for the treatments. Not only do genes define what type of medical ailments you have inherited from your parents or what your children might inherit from you, but also the fact how your body reacts towards certain types of medications (some might or might not suit due to the genetic makeup of a person). Along with the physical and mental abilities a person possesses that are gifted through one’s genes, the response towards nutrients of one’s body is also determined by the genetics and could be identified with DNA tests in case of some allergic reaction that one of the parents might have.
Commonly Hereditary Diseases and DNA Testing
There are certain types of diseases that are commonly inherited from one’s parents and may have less impact from the environmental forces often charged with the responsibility of diseases. Some hereditary diseases can be identified by DNA testing, of course, testing just shows you have a certain DNA trait. It does not necessarily mean you will ever attain the disease. However hereditary diseases and DNA testing can enable your to identify risk and take preventative measures.
1 – Parkinson’s Disease
One of the most popular neurological disorders is Parkinson’s disease. The victims of this disease have brain cells not producing enough dopamine thus resulting in trembling limbs, face and jaw and also stiffness in the torso and limbs. Patients with Parkinson’s disease also suffer from the improper balance or slowed movements of the body and this usually starts over 50 years of age. According to a research by 23andme a genomics and biotechnology company, that people having inherited one mutation of the gene LRRK2 (which is linked to the development of Parkinson’s disease) from either of the parents, they have a 28% chance of developing it by the age of 59 and 74% chance by the age of 79. An interesting fact and why hereditary diseases and DNA testing will become an integral part of our future.
2. Bipolar Disorder
Another one of cognitive processes, bipolar disorder is also hereditary. Bipolar disorder is also known as a manic-depressive illness which is marked by uncertain behavior and unusual mood swings, shifts in energy and activity levels. Also, the patients have difficulty carrying out daily tasks resulting in poor performance at studies and work, messed relationships and suicide as extreme measures. This runs in families, bipolar disorder is more likely to exist in a person if both parents have it to some extent.
3 – Celiac Disease / Gluten Intolerance
Also known as a gluten allergy, celiac disease affects about 2 million Americans and a wide number of people all over the world as well. This is caused by the consumption of gluten that is found in wheat, barley, and rye and it causes diarrhoea and abdominal pains (the condition is often mistaken as irritable bowel syndrome), and the only way to avoid it is to avoid anything that contains even a minimal amount of gluten. The widespread of this problem has created a niche for gluten-free products all over the world. Celiac disease also runs in families and having a parent or sibling with it raises the chance of an individual having it at any stage of life.
4 – Obesity
This usually tops the list of the most popular hereditary diseases of all times. Although a combination of genetic factors and environmental and behavioral factors, obesity is highly associated with genes and is sometimes apparent too (when it occurs despite controlled habits), people with family history of obesity from either maternal or paternal side can suffer from it and might develop it rather easily as compared to someone without that genetic composition. According to 23andme, 84% of individuals affected by obesity have their genes responsible for it.
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) that is the vision loss in individuals over the age of 60 is a genetic disorder- So is a popular skin condition psoriasis which affects a large number of individuals and about 80% of the condition holds genes responsible for it (with an addition of environmental factors). Breast and ovarian cancer in women although seems to have no link with family history in most cases, 5 to 10% is attributed to genetic mutations in BRCA genes (BRCA1 or BRCA2). DNA testing helps individuals to plan their lifestyle choices and diet accordingly, and stay updated on their health conditions to know if any symptoms are more likely to appear due to their genetic structure.
As science and technology adapt and move forward, test such as those mentioned above is helping us learn more about hereditary diseases and DNA testing which could help us control or eliminate certain diseases. DNA testing has allowed us to discover more about ourselves, our diseases and indeed our ancestry testing.