DNA testing has become highly popular over the last few years. While professional services have been using DNA testing for decades to solve crimes or find information, it has only been recently introduced to the public as a way to find out more about their ancestry. People across the globe are sending their saliva samples into genetic recording companies to find out more about their ancestors and family’s history. As the testing becomes more common and widely used, the results have also been used to identify cultural traits and identities, find lost family, and learn more about their kin’s predecessors.
People submit their spit swabs for many reasons. Some do it out of general curiosity while others have more personal reasons for wanting to learn more about their relatives both past and present. Regardless of the reason, the information learned is always fascinating and helps give us some insight into the movements of our ancestors.
But genetic analysis can also provide us with other information including our health. Many diseases are passed from generation to generation that can be traced through genetic markers. Some of the very useful ways the DNA tracking helps educate you about your health include:
1. Risk of Disease
Some people have a higher risk of getting certain diseases than others. For example, celiac disease, certain cancers, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and some musculoskeletal degenerative conditions can be passed down through the generations. By understanding your family’s history and your own personal genetically predisposed health risks, you can make more informed choices about your diet and lifestyle. You can also take this information to your doctor to develop a screening and monitoring plan.
Some people are more likely to be overweight, have difficulty sleeping, have predispositions towards addictions, and have higher risk of other wellness related conditions. While not everything is the sole result of your genetic makeup, knowing how your genes impact certain conditions can help you develop healthier, balanced goals. It will also give you a better understanding of why you are more prone to specific lifestyle conditions.
3. Genetic Carrier
While you might not be at risk of developing certain diseases and conditions, it is possible that you can be a carrier of the gene that causes the ailment. As a carrier, your descendants could be at risk. Understanding this news can help you plan for the future. While that does not mean you should not have your own children, it does mean that you can discuss the results with your doctor and seek their expert advice.
If you have ever heard someone state that slow aging runs in their family, they are not wrong. Certain traits of aging such as bone mass decline are part of your genetic makeup. Genetic analysis can determine how fast or slow your body will age.
DNA testing is used for many valuable purposes. Everyone’s genetic makeup is unique and can valuable information about family, ancestral backgrounds, developmental and health traits. Genetic testing can show you conditions that you are predisposed to as well as what illnesses or diseases are carrier in your genetic markers.
While the data gained from the testing is informative and fascinating, it should never be taken as the only indicator of how your health, wellness, and aging will occur. Many external factors and lifestyle choices also play a significant role in how healthy or unhealthy you will be.
However, the information can be used as a valuable tool that you and your doctor can use to monitor conditions, track medical information and develop healthy lifestyle habits.