Ever wondered what your genes say about your genetic health? Did you know a DNA test can reveal what diseases you are most susceptible to develop over the course of your life? These DNA tests are called genetic predisposition health tests and are proving to be hugely popular.
Samples collection for health testing
To determine which illnesses you stand a higher chance of developing all laboratories is a simple blood sample or oral swab samples. Once in the laboratory, scientists will analyze particular sequences of DNA to determine whether the individual tested carries the genes which code for a specific disease. Oral swab samples are easier to collect as they only require the interested person to rub a sterile swab under their own tongue for around ten seconds, allow them to dry and return them for laboratory analysis.
Health tests carried out using blood also have a rather simple sampling method. Normally, blood samples required are not medical blood draws but simply blood drops collected by means a finger prick. DNA testing companies will provide a kit within which one finds a sterile finger lancet and a special gauze to collect the blood drops.
How do results help the person doing the test?
Once you know you have a high chance of developing a certain disease you can proceed to make informed changes to your lifestyle. Here are some simple examples:
- Lung cancer is one of the many cancers that health tests often cover. We all know of the strong correlation between smoking and lung cancer, a correlation which is probably stronger than with any other disease. If results show you have a very high chance of developing lunch cancer, smoking or passive smoking, a life style re-evaluation is crucial, especially if you are a smoker or live amongst smokers. Quite literally, maintaining the habit would mean “asking for it”.
- Obesity is a leading disease in many countries. Knowing whether you have a high predisposition to obesity means ensuring you do not become obese simply by knowing that your body is more likely to develop the condition. It also means that a restricted calorie intake and exercise routine will help keep the condition at bay.
Results of a genetic health test can only be useful and significant if viewed with a health practitioner or nutritionist. Many of us would be unable to make the right choices as we would not know exactly what aspects of our lifestyle to change for the diseases to which we have a high predisposition.
What diseases will you be told about?
There are hundreds of diseases which can be tested for but few companies, if any, test for “hundreds”. Normally a fixed number of diseases are tested or in some cases, you might be able to choose specific diseases or a group of diseases. This latter is indeed useful if you know you have a medical history of a given condition in your family and want to see how likely it is that you will develop the condition as well.
Anything from breast cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer, Alzheimer’s, lupus, Diabetes, Multiple Sclerosis and various forms of arthritis can be tested for. Experts highlight one important point: to ensure the laboratory carrying out your genetic analysis is accredited to carry out such tests.