During the past decade, there has been a great deal of interest in genetic testing for medical conditions. People who have a family history of diseases such as cancer and heart disease are especially interested in genetic testing.
If you are considering genetic testing, you may be wondering whether the benefits are worth the costs of the testing. Here are 6 benefits of using genetic testing for medical conditions.
1. Genetic testing can reveal if you have a genetic predisposition towards certain conditions.
If you have a family history of a catastrophic illness, it can be frightening to think about your chances of developing the disease. Each time you schedule an appointment for your annual physical, you may worry about receiving an unwanted diagnosis.
Genetic testing can assess your DNA to determine if you have a predisposition towards the disease. Based on the results of the test, your doctor can help you determine the next steps to take that may help you reduce your chances of contracting the condition.
2. Genetic testing can provide you with peace-of-mind.
Living in fear of a cancer or Parkinson’s diagnosis isn’t a fun way of live. If your family has a strong history of a certain disease, you may have developed a heightened sense of fear about a possible diagnosis.
Through genetic testing, you can learn whether your fear is based in reality or fiction. After you review the information with your doctor, you may feel a sense of relief. Even if your DNA reveals that you are predisposed to certain diseases, you can take action instead of living in constant fear.
3. Results from genetic testing can let you know which lifestyle changes may be beneficial to you.
In diseases such as breast cancer and ovarian cancer, there are specific genetic markers that raise the risk of developing the disease. If a genetic test reveals the presence of those markers, you can make lifestyle changes or surgical choices that may help you prevent developing the disease.
In response to the presence of genetic markers for cancer, some women decide to remove their breasts and ovaries. Other women increase their mammograms and doctor’s visits.
4. You can use the results to educate your family members about risks of developing certain diseases.
Knowing your family’s predisposition for disease is especially helpful if you have children. Providing them with your family’s medical information may cause them to make smarter choices regarding alcohol consumption, dietary intake and smoking.
For example, family members with a genetic predisposition towards diabetes could use the information to help them make better food choices. This knowledge could lead to healthier lifestyles for your family members.
5. Genetic testing can be used to determine if you have genetic mutations that cause enzyme deficiencies.
Enzymes are important because they control the rate of chemical reactions in your body. They break down large molecules into smaller molecules. For that reason, enzymes are essential to a healthy life. When your body is deficient in certain enzymes, you can develop Lupus, cancer, Epstein Barr or anemia.
6. Genetic testing provides greater insight into the composition of your unborn child’s DNA.
When parents conceive a child, their primary goal is to increase the odds that they will have a healthy child. For this reason, doctors offer several types of prenatal genetic tests to women during the first and second trimesters of the pregnancy. Unborn babies can be genetically screened for:
- Sickle Cell Anemia
- Cystic Fibrosis
- Tay Sachs Disease
- Birth Defects
Although it’s slowly gaining acceptance throughout the world, genetic testing is still controversial. By assessing the benefits of using genetic testing for medical conditions, you can make informed decisions about your health.